NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT
Well the school year is almost over many student-athletes across the country have either already put their John Hancock on the dotted line or are getting set to. If you are a 2018 or 2019 grad this is a great time to stop, sit and read this ... Signing the National Letter of Intent is a life-altering decision, as it marks the next phase of a young adult's life and creates the foundation of their next 40 years. As a leader in this industry there are some things I believe you should be aware of.
First and foremost: signing the NLI is a legally binding contract between the student-athlete and the institution. The NLI will bind your student-athletes to the school and program for one academic school year. Note that I didn't mention the coach. Student-athletes should like the coaching staff, of course, but they should not pick a school solely on the coach, because you are committed to the school, not the coach.
In order for an athlete to sign the NLI, the school must provide them with an athletic scholarship. Once they sign the NLI, there is no room left to negotiate and leverage their scholarship and financial packages, so please ask all questions before they sign on that dotted line.
Asking questions, visiting the school and understanding what the school and program offers you are key! You must be 100% sure of your decision, as there can be penalties if you sign and want to back out.
Before a Division I or Division II school can put an offer on the table, you have to have completed the following first:
Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
Provide the school with a copy of their transcript
Be put on the school's institutional request list (IRL)
Division I Only: complete the amateurism questionnaire with the NCAA Eligibili Center.
Did you know that:
Even if you sign the NLI, you must be a qualifier according to the NCAA Eligibility Center to keep your scholarship? Make sure you work hard in the classroom till the very end, and that you have the right core classes and test scores. Actual qualifier status is not determined until and after graduation from high school.
Division 3 schools do not subscribe to the letter of intent program rather use a standard, NCAA provided, non-binding celebratory signing form. A prospective student-athlete is permitted to sign the celebratory signing form at any point, including high school signing events, after the prospective student-athlete has been accepted to the institution.
Another interesting fact with D3 colleges are that the Institutions are not permitted to publicize a prospective student-athlete’s commitment to the institution until the prospective student-athlete has submitted a financial deposit.
NAIA and NJCAA programs can draft their own version of the NLI, at any time? Before an NAIA school can put their offer on the table make sure you have registered for the NAIA's Eligibility Center at playnaia.org.
Exciting .. huh? It is to me and what I do everyday!
I congratulate all student-athletes that have and will be making their collegiate decisions.