WHAT is a Letter of Intent?


For any high school athletes, parents and even some coaches, you always hear about signing a “Letter of Intent” or the BIG “Signing Day”, etc.   It is amazing that a lot of people don’t really know what is involved with the Letter of Intent, other than the fact that it represents an athlete’s commitment to a particular college.   Here is a little information that should prove helpful…..

What is the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?

The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution

  • A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

Basic penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement:   A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an institution in which the institution agrees to provide a prospective student-athlete who is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules athletics aid for one academic year in exchange for the prospective student-athlete’s agreement to attend the institution for one academic year.   All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI program agree to not recruit a prospective student-athlete once he or she signs an NLI with another college or university.   Therefore, a prospective student-athlete who signs an NLI should no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls and is ensured an athletics scholarship for one academic year.   The NLI must be accompanied by an institutional financial aid agreement.   If the prospective student-athlete does not enroll at that institution for a full academic year, he or she may be subject to specific penalties, including loss of a season of eligibility and a mandatory residence requirement.

If you sign an NLI, you are committed to attend that institution for your initial year of collegiate enrollment.   If you do not attend the signing institution or attend that institution for less than one academic year and you enroll in another college that participates in the NLI program, there may be eligibility ramifications.   The basic penalty may preclude you from representing the second college until you have completed one academic year in residence at the latter institution and you may lose one season of competition in all sports.

Please note that the NLI program is administered through the NCAA Eligibility Center office.    Specific questions regarding its application should be directed to the NLI office at 877/262-1492.   Additional information can be obtained through the NLI program Web page at www.national-letter.org.   Please contact the NCAA membership services staff at 317/917-6222 if you have further questions.

For further information, visit the NLI Web site (www.national-letter.org)

* For more High School athletics and college recruiting / scholarship assistance, visit:  http://www.ViewMySport.com/