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Recruiting Resources : NLI Provisions

NCAA National Letter of Intent Provisions

NLI Provisions

Signing a National Letter of Intent to play with either a NCAA Division I or II program signals the end of the recruiting process but it also brings with it a handful of provisions established by the NCAA. The following section was designed to provide you with a better understanding of these provisions, ranging in topics from financial-aid requirements to program coaching changes.

Initial Enrollment in Four-Year Institution Top ^

Signing a National Letter of Intent only applies to athletes who are about to become full-time students at a four-year university for the first time. However, signing a NLI is also applicable for transfers graduating from junior college on their way to join four-year universities.

A National Letter of Intent is not required of an athlete who will enroll midyear at a university. An exception is made for midyear junior college transfers in football, who must first graduate for the National Letter of Intent to be valid.

Financial Aid Requirement Top ^

As mentioned earlier on the main National Letter of Intent page, athletes signing a NLI are guaranteed an athletic scholarship for one year.

Accompanying the National Letter of Intent is a written offer of an athletic financial aid statement for the following academic year to the respective university. There is a slight variation for midyear junior college transfers playing football, since the scholarship will be for the remainder of the current academic school year.

The offer must list the terms and conditions of the scholarship, including the amount and duration. At the time of signing this scholarship offer, the National Letter of Intent must simultaneously be signed and both delivered to the university.

Transferring Schools Top ^

After signing a National Letter of Intent, you must attend that university for one full academic year and may not enroll in another institution participating in the NLI program. If you leave early to compete athletically at another school, you may not participate in intercollegiate athletics until you have completed a full academic year at the school named on the NLI. Leaving early also brings a penalty of forfeiting one season of competition in all sports.

Early Signing Penalties Top ^

Athletes playing football are prohibited from signing a National Letter of intent during the early-signing period. Signing a NLI for any sport during the early period deems that athlete ineligible for football (practice and competition) for the first year of enrollment in college and will result in the lost of one season of football eligibility. If an athlete's primary sport isn't football, but plays football, it is encouraged to wait and sign a NLI until either the football signing period or during the regular signing period for all sports.

National Letter of Intent Can Become Null and Void Top ^

While a National Letter of Intent is binding to a specific university's athletics program there are instances when a NLI can become null and void. These instances are:

  1. Denied admission or deferred enrollment by the university and not the athlete
  2. Failing to meet eligibility requirements by the fall of your first college term of either (a) the institution's requirements for admissions, (b) its academic requirements for financial aid to student-athletes, or (c) the NCAA requirements for financial aid (NCAA Bylaw 14.3) or the junior college transfer requirements.
  3. A one-year absence from any institution for at least one academic year, provided a request for an athletic scholarship for a subsequent term is denied by the signing university.
  4. Active service in the U.S. Armed Forces or undertaking an official church mission for at least 12 months.
  5. If the university discontinues your sport
  6. If the university, or a representative of its athletics interests, violates NCAA or conference rules during the recruiting process. The National Letter of Intent will become void if the violation directly results in the need for eligibility reinstatement by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Recruiting Ban Begins Top ^

The recruiting process between all universities ends for all athletes once a NLI is signed and it is up to the athlete to notify all recruiters about the signing. Once enrolled at the university, the National Letter of Intent recruiting ban is no longer in effect and you are governed by NCAA recruiting bylaws.

14-Day Signing Deadline Top ^

Failing to sign either the National Letter of Intent or the accompanying athletic scholarship, by either the athlete or a parent/legal guardian within 14 days of issuance makes the NLI invalid. If this happens another NLI may be issued within the appropriate signing period. However, all National Letters of Intent issued during the early signing period must be signed during that period.

Coaching Changes and Contact at a NLI Signing Top ^

The National Letter of Intent is bound to the school and no a coaching staff. If a coach leaves the sports program for any reason, the athlete remains bound to the provisions of the NLI. It's good to keep in mind, no only when signing but during the entire recruiting process, that coaching changes do occur.

A coach or university representative my not hand deliver a National Letter of Intent off campus or be present off campus at the time the NLI is signed. Ways a NLI can be sent are express mail, courier service, regular mail, email or fax machine. You may also send in a National Letter of Intent electronically (fax or email).