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November 11th is the first opportunity for high school seniors (and JUCO athletes) to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent with an NCAA Division I or II program in sports other than football.

Here are a few mistakes when signing an NLI that have been noted by compliance directors on Division I and II campuses across the country. Don’t make these same mistakes when you or your athlete sign the NLI. A mistake could cause the NLI to be invalid if not caught and corrected.

  • Forgetting to include the time that the NLI was signed.
  • Signing the NLI prior to 7 AM your local time on the initial signing date.
  • Not signing the NLI within 7 days after the date it was issued to you.
  • Names are printed on the NLI instead of an actual signature.
  • The Parent or Legal Guardian box is not checked.
  • Poor scan quality when you return your signed copy to the university.

If you have questions about signing a NCAA National Letter of Intent or an NJCAA Letter of Intent, schedule a confidential Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

High school and junior college athletes being recruited by Division I coaches have not been able to visit D1 campuses or have face-to-face discussions with coaches (except via Zoom or FaceTime) since mid-March.  In fact, the NCAA DI Dead Period has been extended through January 1, 2021.

With this in mind, do you feel comfortable having your athlete sign a National Letter of Intent with a Division I university when the signing period begins on November 11 for all sports other than football?

While accepting a scholarship may be very valuable to your athlete, signing the NLI locks them in to attending that university for at least one full academic year even though they might never have visited the campus and toured the facilities, let alone met the coaching staff in person.

It’s a common misperception that when a recruit is presented with a National Letter of Intent that they must sign that document.

  • However, the NLI is actually a separate document from a school’s official scholarship agreement.
  • The NLI can’t be offered to a recruit unless it is accompanied by that scholarship agreement.

It’s possible for a recruit to sign the school’s scholarship agreement without signing the National Letter of Intent. But what does that actually mean for your athlete?

For one thing, signing the scholarship agreement with a college is a “guarantee” that the college must provide you with that scholarship if you are accepted for admission to that college, enroll and attend classes there, and are certified as eligible by the NCAA.

The potential upside of signing the scholarship agreement but NOT the NLI is that your athlete would not be subject to the NLI penalty for not attending that college for one full academic year should they choose to transfer after just one semester.

An example of why an athlete might choose to transfer after one semester is if the coach who has been the primary recruiter for your athlete leaves for another job before your athlete ever arrives on campus.

On the other hand, the potential downside of not signing the NLI is that it can potentially harm your athlete’s relationship with the coaching staff who recruited them before your athlete ever arrives on campus. The coaching staff might question the athlete’s intentions and full commitment if they don’t sign the NLI. Is there a way to minimize that possibility?

Here are a couple of suggestions for dealing with the uncertainty of the times we are in the midst of when your athlete is being asked (and perhaps pressured) to sign a National Letter of Intent.

One possible option is that your athlete can ask the university recruiting them if they can sign only the scholarship agreement when the signing period begins on November 11. Your athlete can then offer to sign the NLI at a later date AFTER they have had a chance to visit the campus, tour facilities, and meet the coaches in person.

Another possible option is to ask the university if they will provide a written assurance to grant your athlete a full release from the NLI if the athlete changes their mind after visiting campus, or if there is a change in the coaching staff before your athlete enrolls at the university.

Do you have questions?

If you would like to discuss the options described here in a confidential phone consultation, schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

June 15th is an important date for high school recruits regarding the opportunity to have contact with NCAA Division I and Division II coaches, and also for current junior college athletes who were signed to an NJCAA Letter of Intent during the 2019-20 academic year.

NCAA Division I Recruiting Information:

June 15th is the first date when most NCAA Division I coaches will be able to 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 – Sept. 1 of junior year
  • Football – Sept. 1 of senior year except for one call between Apr. 15 and May 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

Regarding calls placed by high school recruits TO Division I coaches, the dates listed above are the same EXCEPT that coaches in the sports of baseball, basketball, and football can accept incoming calls and talk to recruits who call them at any time.

NCAA Division II Recruiting Information:

For recruiting by NCAA Division II colleges, June 15 is the date when coaches in ALL sports can start to contact recruits who have completed their sophomore year via phone, email, or direct message services.

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

NJCAA Letter of Intent Signees:

For athletes who attended an NJCAA two-year college during the 2019-20 academic as a Letter of Intent signee: June 15 is also the date by which notification of renewal of the Letter of Intent for the 2020-21 academic year is supposed to be provided by their college.

An NJCAA athlete not signed to a new 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.

For specific questions about recruiting rules, Letter of Intent, or scholarship agreements, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

On April 1st, the NCAA announced that they are extending the recruiting “Dead Period” for all Division I and II sports programs through May 31.

As a reminder, that means:

  • There can be no face-to-face personal recruiting activity between coaches and recruits or families.
  • Coaches can’t leave campus for any recruiting observations.
  • Coaches cannot invite recruits to visit campus.

However, It is still permissible for recruiting to be conducted by phone, text, email or through social media.

National Letter of Intent

NLI Signing opportunities will resume on April 15th for NCAA Division I and II programs.

All NCAA sports programs – including Division I basketball and football – will be allowed to offer a National Letter of Intent and an official scholarship agreement at any time from April 15 through August 1.

(In a normal year, Division I football can only offer a National Letter of Intent until April 1, while Division I basketball must cease offering an NLI in mid-May.)

Do You Need Help?

Contact us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com to arrange a consultation session if you’d like to discuss your athlete’s options, or schedule a Scholarship Strategies Consult online.

A signed National Letter of Intent is valid ONLY for high school recruits OR for junior college athletes who are going to an NCAA DI or DII program. The National Letter of Intent must be accompanied by an Athletic Scholarship Offer to be valid.

There is no such thing as an NCAA National Letter of Intent for an athlete who is enrolling as a transfer directly from another four-year college.

If an NCAA Division I or II program offers a National Letter of Intent to an athlete transferring directly to that university from another four-year college, there’s a mistake somewhere – either intentionally or unintentionally.

A National Letter of Intent signed in this situation is not valid.

We’ve recently become aware of at least two situations where an athlete transferring to an NCAA Division I or II program from another four-year university was sent a National Letter of Intent. We strongly believe that in at least one of those instances, the coaching staff was purposely trying to trick the athlete into thinking that he had no other option.

Do you Have Questions?

If you have questions about either 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 or contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Wednesday, November 13 is the initial date for high school seniors to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent in all sports other than Football.The Football signing date is December 18 for Division I programs and February 5 for Division II programs.

For athletes being recruited by junior colleges, November 1st was the first date for coaches at NJCAA member colleges to offer their NJCAA Letter of Intent to high school seniors in all sports other than Football. (The NJCAA football signing date is February 5.)

  • The National Letter of intent is not the same thing as an athletic scholarship agreement from an NCAA university. While the two documents go hand-in-hand, they are not one and the same.
  • A National Letter of Intent can’t be issued to a recruit unless that recruit is being offered an athletic scholarship. However, it is not a requirement for a recruit to sign a National Letter of Intent at the same time that they sign the university scholarship agreement being offered.
  • When a prospect signs an NLI, they are committing to attend that school for at least one full academic year in exchange for their scholarship. Once a prospect has signed an NLI, other DI and DII programs are to stop recruiting that prospect.
  • While NCAA DI universities are permitted to offer multi-year scholarships, the majority of DI athletic teams only offer one-year scholarships which are renewable each year. NCAA DII athletic programs are prohibited from offering multi-year scholarships.

We have a limited number of 30-minute private consults available Tuesday, November 12th and Wednesday, November 13th.

To be guaranteed a spot, purchase and schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online or call us at 913-766-1235.

Wednesday, November 13 is the initial date for high school seniors to sign an NCAA National Letter of Intent in all sports other than Football.The Football signing date is December 18 for Division I programs and February 5 for Division II programs.

We get many phone calls this time of year asking about the NCAA National Letter of Intent.  This article provides basic facts about what the NLI and athletic scholarship are and how they work together.  I also touch on an issue that some athletes may want to consider –  whether or not they SHOULD sign a National Letter of Intent.

Basic facts about the NCAA National Letter of Intent

  • The NCAA National Letter of intent is not the same thing as an athletic scholarship agreement from an NCAA university. While the two documents go hand-in-hand, they are not one and the same.
  • A National Letter of Intent can’t be issued to a recruit unless that recruit is being offered an athletic scholarship. However, it is not a requirement for a recruit to sign a National Letter of Intent at the same time that they sign the university scholarship agreement being offered.
  • When a prospect signs an NLI, they are committing to attend that school for at least one full academic year in exchange for their scholarship. Once a prospect has signed an NLI, other DI and DII programs are to stop recruiting that prospect.
  • While NCAA DI universities are permitted to offer multi-year scholarships, the majority of DI athletic teams only offer one-year scholarships which are renewable each year. NCAA DII athletic programs are prohibited from offering multi-year scholarships.

Should you Sign an NLI…OR MAYBE NOT?

An NLI is a legal document. If an athlete signs an NLI, they are now “locked in” to the school for one full year. Getting out of the NLI once it is signed can be difficult and sometimes costly.

A benefit to NOT signing an NLI is that if there is a coaching change before the signee begins college, the athlete isn’t locked in to that university and can pursue other options.

There are pros and cons to signing a National Letter of Intent. We can explain those in a confidential phone consultation. For questions about the National Letter of Intent or about athletic scholarships, schedule a confidential scholarship strategies consult online or contact us at rick@informedathlete.com or 913-766-1235.