The National Letter of Intent Early Signing Period begins this Wednesday. In preparation for the Early Signing Period, Eligibility Coach answers the following most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the NLI:
Who signs an NLI?
Prospective student-athletes who will enroll in a four-year school for the first time in 2013-2014 may sign an NLI in this upcoming early signing period. If you are attending a two-year college, but originally started at a four-year college before transferring to the current two-year school, you may sign an NLI with a second four-year school.
Do I have to sign on the first day of the signing period?
No, you may only sign during the designated signing period. The early period for 2012 is Wednesday, November 14, 2012, until Wednesday, November 21, 2012. However, please remember that Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 22, 2012, and many universities and conference offices will be closed on varying days during the week of November 19 – 23, 2012. Please make sure someone is available to receive your documents and verify that they were received within the allotted time frame.
Can I receive the NLI by email?
Yes, it is permissible for a university to provide a prospect with an NLI as an attachment to an email message, provided the offer of athletically-related financial aid is also included in the email. The prospect should print the NLI and financial-aid agreement, sign two copies, return one copy of each document to the university, and keep one copy for his records.
How do I return the NLI?
Yes, once signed, the NLI may be returned to the university by fax, email or regular mail. It is best to send a hard copy of the signed NLI to the university by regular mail, in addition to the fax or email copy. Make sure to include a copy of the financial-aid agreement as well.
Does my parent have to sign the NLI?
If the prospective student-athlete is under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, a parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI in order for it to be a valid document. Any prospect 21 years or older does not have to have a parent or guardian’s signature.
Do I have to be certified by the Eligibility Center in order to sign the NLI?
No, you may sign the NLI before your receive your Eligibility Center certification. When you sign the NLI, you agree to submit the necessary paperwork to the Eligibility Center in order for it to complete the certification process for you. If the Eligibility Center determines that you are a non-qualifier, your NLI will become null and void at that time.
I plan to walk-on to the team; do I still sign an NLI?
No, Universities are not allowed to provide NLIs to non-scholarship walk-on students, and that is why the NLI is not valid without a financial-aid agreement that shows the exact amount of money that will be awarded to the student upon matriculation.
I’m not sure where I want to go to school, when is the regular NLI signing period?
That depends on your sport.
NCAA Division I Basketball April 17, 2013 – May 15, 2013
NCAA Division II Basketball April 17, 2013 – August 1, 2012
Football February 6, 2013 – April 1,
Field Hockey, Soccer, Track and Field,
Cross Country, Men’s Water Polo February 6, 2013 – August 1, 2013
All Other Sports April 17, 2013 – August 1, 2013
Please note that mid-year Junior College Transfer Football Players have a separate signing period from December 19, 2012 to January 15, 2013.
I’m ready to commit, can I sign the NLI while I’m on an unofficial visit to campus?
Yes. A coach or other university representative may not hand-deliver an NLI to you off-campus. You may receive and sign an NLI while you are on campus for an official or an unofficial visit, AS LONG AS your visit is during a permissible signing period. Remember, if you are less than 21 years of age, your parent or legal guardian will need to sign the NLI as well in order for it to be valid.
What if the coach who recruited me leaves the school?
The NLI is a contract between the university and the prospective student-athlete. The coach is not a party to that contract. Therefore, if the coach leaves, the prospect is still bound to the legal agreement and must attend the university for one full academic year. In return, the university agrees to provide the prospect with a scholarship in a designated amount regardless of who will be coaching the team. Coaches move frequently; so, make sure you sign an NLI with a university that meets your academic, social, athletic and professional goals.