National Letter Of Intent

  • 29 Sep, 2015

1. What Is The National Letter Of Intent (NLI)?

The National Letter Of Intent is a binding contract valid for one year between the student athlete and the university. Once you have signed this contract you are committed to that particular school for one year and you are no longer eligible to sign with a different program.

2. What Happens If I Change My Mind On A NLI?

You are bound to the agreement signed with the NLI. If you do not abide your NLI you lose one year of Eligibility and must serve one year’s residence at your next NLI institution before receiving a scholarship. Please make sure you get informed and know the consequences before changing your mind on a NLI.

3. Once I Sign An NLI Can I Still Play For A Non-NLI School?

Yes, you can sign an NLI with one school, and then go play for another only if they‘re not part of the NLI program. When you sign an NLI, you are committing yourself to that school for at least one school year. In exchange, you’re being awarded financial aid in the form of an athletic or academic scholarship. Once a high school athlete signs an NLI, the college recruiting process ends for them. No other college coaches can continue to recruit them after they have signed an NLI with another school.

4. Can I Sign An NLI If I Am In A Junior College?

Yes. If you are receiving financial aid from that school you can sign an NLI. Be advised that NLI’s at the Junior College level are binding for two years. Also, Junior Colleges don’t offer athletic scholarships due to their limited funds.

5. Once I Receive My NLI, How Do I Submit It?

When an institution sends you an NLI, it will be during the signing period for your sport. You have 14 days to sign it and return it to that school. When you sign your NLI, you should make sure you sign it in duplicate. Then you keep one copy and send the other back to the college. It‘s always a good idea to keep a duplicate copy for your records in case something happens to the copy you try to send to the school. There are a few different ways to submit your NLI. Most college coaches prefer to send their athletes the NLI by email. Then the athlete can print it out and sign it. To return the signed copy to the school, you can do one of three things:

  • Fold it up and mail it to the coach.
  • Fax it to the coach.
  • Scan it back into the computer and email it to the coach.
  • It’s always a good idea to send the coach a hard copy though, also to a fax or an electronic submission.

6. Do I Have To Sign An NLI?

While athletes are not required to sign an NLI, there are several reasons to do it. Once high school athletes sign the NLI it shows that they are committing themselves to a college program for at least a year in exchange for financial aid. Once an athlete signs an NLI, the recruiting process is over. They have secured a roster position with a school and no longer speak with coaches from other programs (coaches are not allowed to contact a signed athlete).

Athletes who are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities sign NLIs as a part of the recruiting process. When a college coach offers an NLI to you, they are looking for you to commit yourself to their program and attend their school as a student-athlete on an athletic scholarship. If you are offered scholarships from multiple schools, it will be important to take some time and discuss which college will be the best fit for your needs. The college you decide to attend is a huge decision and will have an impact on you for the rest of your life. Remember: it’s not just about playing your sport; you are there to earn a degree and prepare for your career path. This is not a 4-year choice; it is a lifetime decision.

7. The Final Step

Please read everything carefully when you sign with the university. The university you are about to sign with must have completed the top half of the final NLI’s page. Read carefully because if such information is incomplete you’ll have to go through the process again. Student-athletes are responsible for signing the bottom half of the last page. If the recruit is under the age of 21 then you will need to have your parent/s or legal guardian sign the document as well.

The best thing about the NLI is that it’s the final step in the recruiting process. These NLI letters are only sent to recruits who have been recruited and evaluated by coaches throughout the past months or even years. If you feel like you are not getting recruited you’ll need to become more proactive and engaged with the recruiting process. Know the rules before you sign.

For more resources on the NLI please visit the links below.

The National Letter Of Intent – Homepage

Search NCAA – National Letter Of Intent

National Letter Of Intent Quick Overview

Author @Nicolae Popescu

Nicolae Popescu is a former NCAA D1 full-scholarship student-athlete and the Founder of WeGotPlayers. He has experienced first-hand the complex college recruiting process himself. Nicolae' s knowledge, skills and sports expertise make him a valuable contributor in helping guide players and parents to find the right school fit. He is passionate about coaching, mentoring and positively influencing players succeed in their sports journey and life thru the power of education and technology.
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