Wednesday, February 7 is also the first date for high school seniors to sign an NJCAA Letter of Intent (LOI) with a junior college football program that is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association. (All other NJCAA sports have their initial LOI signing date on November 1.)

It’s important to note that unlike the NCAA National Letter of Intent (NLI), an NJCAA LOI can be issued to a recruit even if no athletic scholarship is being provided to that recruit.

As a result, even though a recruit who signs an NJCAA LOI may not be receiving any athletic scholarship funding, the recruit is still committing themselves to attend that particular junior college for at least one full academic year.

Once a recruit has signed an NJCAA LOI, they can’t sign with or contact coaches at other NJCAA football programs about a possible transfer until the recruit has completed one full year of attendance at that junior college or is released from their LOI by that college.

If you or your athlete have questions or need assistance including reviewing your scholarship offer before you sign, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com

Wednesday, February 7 is the first day of the “regular” National Letter of Intent signing period for NCAA Division I and II football recruits.

Although Division I football programs had an “early” signing period in December, this upcoming period will be the first opportunity for NCAA Division II football programs to sign high school recruits to a scholarship for next year.

This signing period is open through April 1 for Division I football programs but continues through August 1 for Division II programs.

If you have questions about the NCAA National Letter of Intent and how it affects your athlete or if you would like us to review your scholarship offer and National Letter of Intent before you sign:

Schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies Consult online, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

In what I think may be the first reported NCAA Infractions Case of its’ type and signals that the NCAA is finally starting to set boundaries for NIL activities and involvement of NIL Collectives:

The Florida State University football program was recently penalized for the actions of an assistant football coach in arranging impermissible recruiting contact between a transfer recruit and a booster.

During an official visit by the transfer recruit, the assistant coach “…transported the prospect and his parents to and from an off-campus meeting with a booster, who at the time was the chief executive officer of an NIL that also was a booster.” The booster offered the prospect an NIL opportunity through the Collective a large amount of money per month during his first year at the school.

The penalties imposed on the Florida State football program include:

  • A three-year disassociation from the booster.
  • A one-year disassociation from the collective.
  • A reduction of five scholarships for the football program.
  • Reductions in official visits, off-campus recruiting opportunities and recruiting communications.

Those of you who may have interest in more details regarding this case can access the official NCAA case report via the link copied below:

The NCAA Division I Council approved a proposal that is intended to provide student-athletes with “protections” related to Name, Image, and Likeness activities. This becomes effective on August 1, 2024.

The four elements of this legislation are:

  • Voluntary registration for NIL service providers. The goal is to collect and publish information about service providers to help student-athletes make informed decisions about who to work with.
  • Disclosure requirements. Within 30 days after signing an NIL agreement, current student-athletes will be required to disclose information to their school related to agreements that exceed $600 in value. Recruits with NIL agreements will be required to disclose such information within 30 days of enrollment.
  • Standardized contracts. “The NCAA will work with schools to provide student-athletes … a template contract and recommended contract terms, to ensure student-athletes and their families make informed decisions about NIL agreements.”
  • Comprehensive NIL education. The NCAA “…will provide ongoing education and resources to support student-athletes…on policies, rules and best practices pertaining to NIL.”

If you have any questions, contact our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

  • High school recruits who are entering their junior year of high school are allowed to take official visits to Division I universities beginning August 1st in all sports other than baseball, women’s basketball, football, lacrosse and softball.
  • For the Division I sports of baseball, lacrosse and softball, the first opportunity is September 1st of a recruit’s junior year of high school.
  • For women’s basketball, the first opportunity is January 1st of the junior year of high school while April 1st of the junior year of high school is the first opportunity for Division I football recruits.

For Division II programs, all sports can provide a recruit with an official visit beginning June 15 preceding the recruit’s junior year of high school.

If you have questions about the NCAA recruiting rules and want to discuss your athlete’s particular situation, we can help with a confidential Recruiting Rules consultation. During the consult, we’ll answer all your questions, and can also discuss the athletic scholarship rules of the various college levels and how they pertain specifically to your athlete.

Effective July 1, recruits can now take an unlimited number of official visits to Division I institutions, as long as they don’t take more than one official visit per university.

  • There are exceptions possible when there has been a head coaching change at a university since the recruit’s original official visit, and also if a recruit later on in their college career is transferring to another university.

Also, high school athletes who are being told by an NCAA Division I coach that they can join the team as a “student manager” because there are no roster spots available, should be aware of a new rule that will impact them.

  • At the NCAA Division I level, once an athlete takes the role of a “student manager” they are forfeiting any remaining eligibility to compete for that university in that sport. That rule has applied in Division I baseball since 2014 but is now applicable to ALL Division I sports.

If you have any questions regarding these new rules, call our office at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

I

For current college athletes including:

  • Student-Athletes who hope to transfer from any four-year college to an NCAA Division II athletic program,
  • Current junior college athletes who were signed to an NJCAA Letter of Intent during the 2022-23 school year.

4-4 Transfers hoping to transfer to an NCAA D2 program:

For athletes currently at an NCAA school and who want to be eligible this Fall upon transfer to an NCAA D2 program:

  • June 15 is the deadline that the athlete must provide written notification to their current school that they want to be entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal.
  • If the student-athlete misses the June 15 deadline, they will lose out on the opportunity to be eligible for competition in their first year at an NCAA Division II program (unless a waiver is approved for the athlete to be eligible).

For 4-year college athletes who don’t have access to the NCAA Transfer Portal (such as current NAIA athletes):

  • Student-athletes should make sure they request written permission from their current school to be allowed to contact NCAA Division II programs about a possible transfer no later than June 15. The request should be sent to their current athletic department via email so that the request date can be verified if it becomes an issue.

NJCAA Letter of Intent signees:

For athletes who attended an NJCAA two-year college during the 2022-23 academic year as a Letter of Intent signee:

  • June 15 is the date by which notification of renewal of the athlete’s Letter of Intent for the 2023-24 academic year is supposed to be provided by their college.
  • An NJCAA athlete who isn’t signed to a second-year scholarship by June 15 (which is supposed to be in the form of a new Letter of Intent) becomes recruitable by any other NJCAA college starting on June 16.

High School Recruits

NCAA Division I

June 15th is the first date when most coaches at NCAA Division I programs can place recruiting phone calls and send emails/messages to athletes who have just completed their sophomore year of high school.

The following Division I sports are the only ones that have a date other than June 15 as the earliest date for placing recruiting calls and sending emails/messages to prospects:

  • Baseball – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Women’s Basketball – June 1 at conclusion of sophomore year
  • Football – Sept. 1 of senior year except for one call from 4/15 to 5/31 of junior year
  • Men’s Ice Hockey – Jan. 1 of sophomore year
  • Lacrosse – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Softball – Sept. 1 of junior year

Football has an exception to the above date regarding emails sent to prospects. Those can be sent to prospects beginning September 1 of a prospect’s junior year in high school.

NCAA Division II

June 15th is the date when NCAA DII coaches in ALL sports can start to contact recruits who have completed their sophomore year of HS via phone, email, or direct messaging.

Division II coaches in all sports can also accept incoming calls and talk to prospects who call them at any time.

NOTE about the June 15 recruiting date: For any of you who may have requested and viewed our recruiting calendars for June and July, you’ll see change from June 14 to June 15 as to the classes of high school recruits who will be able to receive recruiting phone calls from NCAA Division I and Division II coaches.

Do you have questions or need objective advice?

For specific questions about the NCAA transfer or recruiting rules, or scholarship agreements and letters of intent, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Here are some tips and reminders for athletes who have already signed with a college sports program for the upcoming year, as well as for those who may currently be in the recruiting process.

NCAA DI

  • Coaches can offer one-year renewable athletic scholarships, or multi-year scholarships which are specifically written to cover multiple academic years. Be sure to note which type of offer your athlete is signing – especially if in their recruiting pitch they are saying that “your scholarship will not be reduced or cancelled as long as you maintain academic eligibility and don’t violate team rules or misconduct policies.” Too many coaches don’t honor their word.
  • For athletes who are in the position of having multiple colleges recruiting them and can “negotiate” a scholarship offer, a multi-year scholarship offer is obviously an advantage, but especially so at Division I universities that are NOT in one of the “Power Five” conferences.
  • A scholarship can only be reduced or cancelled “during the period of the award” under specific NCAA guidelines.
  • Athletes who were on an athletic scholarship the preceding academic year must be notified in writing not later than July 1 regarding the status of their scholarship for the following year.
  • A National Letter of Intent is not the same thing as a scholarship agreement issued by a university.

NCAA Division II

  • Coaches are not permitted to offer an athletic scholarship for more than one year at a time. They may say that the scholarship will be renewed each year, but there is no requirement that they do so since the rules specifically limit an athletic scholarship to no more than one year.
  • A scholarship can only be reduced or cancelled “during the period of the award” under specific NCAA guidelines.
  • Athletes who were on an athletic scholarship the preceding academic year must be notified in writing not later than July 1 regarding the status of their scholarship for the following year.
  • A National Letter of Intent is not the same thing as a scholarship agreement issued by a university.

NAIA

  • All forms of institutional financial aid received by a student-athlete count against the maximum team limit in their sport. However, aid provided to athletes with strong academic standing may be exempt from counting against team scholarship limits based on their academic performance. Those criteria vary between entering freshman and currently-enrolled athletes.

NJCAA

  • An NJCAA Letter of Intent is the same thing as a scholarship agreement IF a scholarship is offered.
  • An NJCAA Letter of Intent can be issued without an athletic scholarship.
  • A Letter of Intent from an NJCAA college is in effect from August 1 to July 31.
  • Renewal of a Letter of Intent for the following year must be given in the form of a new NJCAA Letter on or before June 15.
  • An athlete not given a second-year Letter of Intent by June 15 becomes recruitable by other NJCAA colleges on June 16.

If You Have Questions

For specific scholarship questions, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online, send an email to us at rick@informedathlete.com or call us at 913-766-1235.

Three families contacted us recently because they had just found out that their college freshman athlete isn’t eligible because they didn’t earn 16 “core courses” in high school.

In one case, the athlete was ready to compete for his university but was told just as his season was starting that he wouldn’t be eligible this season.

For another athlete who was planning to transfer to an NCAA university this Spring from an NAIA college, he was told that he will need to attend another semester of college before being able to transfer to the NCAA university.

In each of these cases, the athlete had believed or been led to believe that one or more of their high school courses would qualify for NCAA eligibility. Unfortunately, those courses were not approved by the NCAA or hadn’t even been submitted to the NCAA for consideration by their high school.

While many high school coaches and guidance counselors do a good job of advising their athletes about college academic and athletic opportunities, we frequently hear about high school athletes who “fell through the cracks.”

In those situations, it’s common to hear that the coaches thought that advising on NCAA eligibility was the responsibility of the high school guidance office, while the guidance counselors thought it was the coach’s responsibility because the student was a member of their athletic team.

If you’re the parent, relative or coach of a high school athlete who wants to compete in college, don’t let them be the victim of a situation as described above. Schedule a confidential High School Transcript Review online or by calling 913-766-1235.

It has become more common over the last two years for high school recruits to take a gap year after graduation to continue training in their sport while taking college courses to get a start toward their college degree. The primary reason for this has been college rosters being overloaded with athletes who were granted an additional year of eligibility.

Is this still something that high school recruits should consider? In my opinion, yes!

Almost all college athletes were granted an additional year on their eligibility “clock” and were not charged with one of their four seasons of playing eligibility during the year 2020.

This was applicable to Spring sport athletes during the 2019-20 academic year and for Fall and Winter sport athletes during the 2020-21 academic year. In addition, many junior college and NCAA Division III athletes in Spring sports were also not charged a season for Spring 2021.

That is FIVE YEARS of college athletes who were given an additional year on their eligibility clock – from athletes who were already in their 5th year of college at that time, to athletes who were only college freshmen then and who now have an eligibility clock that might not expire until the end of the 2025-26 academic year.

If you’d like to have a confidential consultation about the possibility of a gap year for your athlete and factors that you may want to take into consideration, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consultation online, or by writing to rick@informedathlete.com.