What you should do if you don’t sign an NLI


This article is for those of you who didn’t sign an NLI and who are still looking for that right opportunity. 

I remember the feeling that I had when the early signing period of my senior year had passed and I had not received many calls or offers from schools that I had hoped to hear from.

I found it extremely frustrating to see kids that I was convinced I was better than – signing with Division I schools – while I was left wondering and waiting. For whatever reason they got called and you did not – it’s happened and now nothing will be able to change that. I know it’s hard not to, but I can tell you that continuing to wonder why they got calls and you didn’t will not help your frustration.

Instead, focus on YOU and put YOURSELF in the best position possible to continue participating in your sport after high school graduation:

  • Reach out to schools to gauge their interest in you as an athlete and as a student.
  • If they won’t knock down your door, then you go knock down theirs.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little rejection, most schools will do it in a very respectful (and even helpful) manner.

For those of you finding yourself still looking for a place to play, I want to wish you the best of luck.

Don’t let one little bump in the road derail your entire path – Keep pushing and finding ways to make it happen!

About Ryan Allen

NCAA Division I Pitcher - University of Missouri - 2006-2009

NCAA Division II Pitcher - University of Central Missouri - 2010

M.Ed. - Educational & Counseling Psychology - University of Missouri - 2013

BS - Business Administration - University of Missouri - 2011

Academic Adviser - University of Missouri Athletic Department - 2014-present

Internship - Academic Adviser - University of Missouri Football 2013-2014

Internship - NACDA - National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics - 2013

Graduate Assistant - Recruiting & Education - University of Missouri Compliance Department - 2011-2013.

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14 Responses to What you should do if you don’t sign an NLI

  • Luis

    Nice article I have a question you may know answer.
    If you play one year of juco baseball.
    Second I will be playing this year NAIA

    Can I be eligible for MLB draft next year or I must attend my NAIA
    School for two years.
    Please reply to my email alwaysfoodsales@aol.com

    Thank u

    • Hi Luis,

      If you will be playing at an NAIA school this year, you will be eligble for the MLB draft after your junior year. However, if you will turn 21 years old before next year’s draft in June, then you could be eligible for the 2013 MLB draft.

      Good luck,


  • Trevan

    I have a High School Senior who is signing a letter of intent to a D1 school for track next week. Can she go on any other college visits after that? Thanks.

    • Hi Trevan,

      The primary purpose of the National Letter of Intent is to “call a halt” to recruiting once a prospect signs the NLI. Once a prospect signs the NLI, all other schools are supposed to stop recruiting that prospect. So, no, she shouldn’t go on any other college visits after that. If she does, it would only be to view the campus buildings and there can be no contact or interaction with coaches or athletic staff at any other school.


  • Maryann

    My son, a senior, is considering doing a PG year to improve his chances for college baseball by allowing this coming season to be his “season to be seen”. He is concerned about contacting D3 coaches right now because if he gets a no that might follow him if he does a PG year. Do you think coaches would hold a no this year against him if he did a PG year?

  • Jessica

    Is there a time of year when coaches are given there money to allot to athletes for scholarships or official visits?

    • Jessica,

      Many coaches know in the late spring or early summer what they’ve been alloted for the upcoming academic year.


  • Mark

    Hello Rick,

    Thank you for this website. Always good info. I have a question. My son played two years of college baseball at a juco. He signed a LOI with a small D1 school for the following year (2013-14). He had to take summer classes this past summer and those classes didn’t wrap up in time for him to enroll at the D1 school. So, he is “red-shirting” this year but going part time at the juco and working on baseball at a training facility. The D1 coach said they would likely honor his scholarship for 2014-15. My son feels like he has really let the D1 coach down (which he has) and it’s being held against him to some extent. He wants to start exploring other options. He called the NCAA and was told that the minute he didn’t enroll this past fall at the D1 school, the LOI was null and void. He’s recently tried to contact the D1 coach and not getting any response. His velo has increased significantly and he wants to start contacting other coaches. Can you confirm that the LOI is no longer binding? Thanks in advance.

    • Mark,

      If your son didn’t meet the NCAA eligibility requirements as a 2-4 transfer, then the NLI is indeed null and void and he can talk with other schools.


  • Mark

    The D1 coach said he was D1 eligible. He just needed one summer class and his summer classes didn’t finish up in time (transcripts were not available in time) before the fall semester at the D1 school started. When I say he let the coach down I mean he let him down by not registering for the first session of summer classes instead of the second session (poor planning). Does that change things?

    • Mark,

      The NLI is null and void if your son 1) didn’t meet the NCAA transfer requirements for eligibility, 2) didn’t meet the admission requirements of the university, or 3) hasn’t attended any college institution for a one-year period. Otherwise, I would say that he’s still bound to the school that he signed with. Here’s a link to this info on the NLI website:



  • Cathy

    My son is a high school senior. He has been offered a football scholarship at an NCAA D2 school and also asked to walk on at an NCAA D1 school for baseball. If he signs a letter of intent for an NCAA D2 school for football but later changes his mind and wants to walk on at the NCAA D1 school for baseball will he have any penalities or have to be released from the NLI from the DII school?

    • Cathy,

      He would need to receive a full release from his NLI commitment to attend the Div. II school in order to avoid penalties at the Div. I school.


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