The National Letter of Intent


Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting


For 2017, the early signing period runs from November 8 – November 15.  The late signing period runs from April 11 – August 1.  The signing period is referencing a prospective student-athlete’s time frame to sign their National Letter of Intent to the 4-year college or university of their choosing.  The signing of an NLI has become a rite of passage for athletes across the country.  High schools, club teams, and families throw parties to celebrate the next step in their athlete’s process. 

There are some things about the NLI all student-athletes should know as it is voluntary and it does carry a penalty if the agreement reached in the signed document is not fulfilled.  We are going to work to go through the NLI, what it does, and some of the rules surrounding the signing of the NLI.

The National Letter of Intent

From the NCAA’s website, the National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a, “voluntary program governed by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and administered by the NCAA.  By signing an NLI, the college bound student-athlete agrees to attend the college or university for one academic year.”  The NLI is only binding when accompanied by a financial aid agreement from the school as well.  When both forms are signed by the player and school, then the player and school have entered into a binding agreement.

Should a player decide, after signing, that he does not want to fulfill the NLI, there are some options.  The player can go to a Junior College, and regain his full eligibility at a 4-year school after one year, becoming a 2-4 transfer.  The player can also attend another 4-year institution, that uses the NLI, but will have to serve one full year in residence, losing that season of competition.  A player that decides to transfer to a 4-year school that does not use the NLI (in any sport) will remain eligible immediately.

Signing the NLI

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