Student-Athlete Resource Center
for Players, Parents & Coaches
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Web site: http://www.national-letter.org

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Overview: What is the NLI?

The National Letter of Intent Program is run by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA). The NLI program started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now has over 50 leagues with over 500 participating institutions.

The NLI program calls for a prospective student-athlete to sign, along with a parent or legal guardian and the athletic director, an "Inter-Conference Letter of Intent" on a specific date. This letter served as certification that the student intended to enroll at a certain institution in the fall. The athletic director indicated the type and extent of financial aid the institution was willing to provide. Other cooperating conferences and institutions would then respect his/her decision and not attempt to recruit him/her further. This agreement was subject to the prospective student qualifying for admission to the institution of his/her choice and the NCAA requirement for financial aid.

Signing Dates

The following are the signing dates for the NLI:

Do not sign prior to 7:00 a.m. (local time) on the following
dates or after the final signing date listed for each sport.

2012- 2013 Signing dates

Sport
Initial Signing Date
Final
Signing Date
Basketball (Early Period)
Nov. 14, 2012
Nov. 21, 2012
Basketball (Regular Period)
April 17, 2013
May 15, 2013
Basketball (Division 2)
August 1, 2013
Football (Midyear JC Transfer)
Dec. 19, 2012
Jan. 15, 2013
Football (Regular Period)
Feb. 6, 2013
April 1, 2013
Field Hockey, Track & Field, Cross Country, Soccer, Men’s Water Polo
Feb. 6, 2013
Aug. 1, 2013
All Other Sports (Early Period)
Nov. 14, 2012
Nov. 21, 2012
All Other Sports (Regular Period)
April 17, 2013
Aug. 1, 2013


Common Questions regarding the National Letter of Intent

When I sign a National Letter of Intent what do I agree to do?
When you sign the National Letter of Intent you agree to attend the institution with which you signed for one academic year in exchange for the institution awarding financial aid, including athletics aid, for one academic year.

By signing a National Letter of Intent am I guaranteed that I will play on the squad?
No. Signing a National Letter of Intent does not guarantee you playing time or a spot on the team. Rather, by signing a National Letter of Intent, the institution with which you sign agrees to provide you athletics financial aid for the academic year.

How do I satisfy the National Letter of Intent?
You can satisfy the National Letter of Intent one of two ways. You satisfy the National Letter of Intent by attending the institution with which you sign for at least one academic year or by graduating from a junior college if you signed a National Letter of Intent while in high school or during your first year at the junior college.

If I complete the playing season at the institution with which I sign, have I satisfied the National Letter of Intent?
No. Completing a playing season alone does not satisfy the National Letter of Intent. You must complete the academic year in residence.

Do I sign a National Letter of Intent every year?
No,

Once I sign a National Letter of Intent may I be recruited by other institutions?
Once you sign a National Letter of Intent, all other participating conferences and institutions are obligated to cease recruiting you. Accordingly, you have an obligation to notify any recruiter from a National Letter of Intent institution of the fact you have signed a National Letter of Intent.

Am I required to sign a National Letter of Intent?
No. You are not required to sign a National Letter of Intent. Once you sign a National Letter of Intent, a recruiting ban goes into effect and you can no longer be recruited by any other National Letter of Intent school which leaves you free to enjoy your final year at your current institution.

If I sign with an NCAA Division I institution can I still sign with a Division II institution?
The true issue is not whether a school is a Division I or Division II institution but whether an institution is a member of the National Letter of Intent Program. With over 500 participating institutions the NLI program is truly national in scope. Briefly, all of Division I institutions, with the exception of the Service Academies and the Ivy League, are members of the program and a large number of Division II institutions participate in the program. No Division III institutions, NAIA schools, preparatory schools or junior colleges participate in the National Letter of Intent Program.

Who signs a National Letter of Intent?
Generally, only prospective student-athletes who are enrolling in a four-year institution for the first time sign a National Letter of Intent. Student-athletes who start their academic career at a four-year institution and then transfer to a junior college may also sign a National Letter of Intent if they plan on entering a second four-year institution.

If I sign a National Letter of Intent in one sport may I sign a National Letter of Intent in a different sport?
No. You may only sign one valid National Letter of Intent annually. Furthermore, when you sign a National Letter of Intent you sign with an institution and not with a coach or with a specific sports team.
Is a National Letter of Intent considered valid if I submit it to the institution via facsimile?
Yes. When you sign the National Letter of Intent you enter into an agreement with the institution. Faxing only represents the means by which you transmit the National Letter. Accordingly, a National Letter of Intent transmitted by facsimile is considered valid. As a matter of practice, it is suggested that you also return the hard copy of the document to the signing institution even if you have already sent the document via fax.

If I do not live with a parent or legal guardian, is it necessary that a parent or legal guardian sign the National Letter of Intent?
If you are under the age of 21, your parent or legal guardian must sign the National Letter of Intent in order for it to be considered valid. If you are 21 years of age or older, it is not necessary for your parent or legal guardian to sign the document.

If my parent or legal guardian lives at a different location than I do, is it permissible to sign a letter sent by facsimile?
While it is not ideal, yes it is permissible to sign a letter sent by facsimile. From a procedural stand point, you should make three copies of the fax and sign the document in triplicate. Once signed, you should retain a copy for your records and return the other two copies to the institution. When the institution receives the copies, they will retain a copy and forward a copy to their conference office for filing.

Can a coach be present when I sign the National Letter of Intent off-campus?
No. A coach cannot be present when you sign a National Letter of Intent off-campus.

Is it permissible to receive a National Letter of Intent while on campus for an official visit?
Yes. While under the terms of the National Letter of Intent program a coach or institutional representative may not hand-deliver a National Letter of Intent off-campus, there is nothing that precludes you from receiving a National Letter of Intent while you are on campus for an official visit. Please remember that you can only sign a National Letter of Intent during a permissible signing period.

If I am going to walk-on to the team, may I sign a National Letter of Intent?
No. Under the terms of the National Letter of Intent Program, an institution is strictly prohibited from allowing you to sign a National Letter of Intent if you are a walk-on. In order for a National Letter of Intent it be consider valid, the National Letter of Intent must be accompanied by an athletic award letter which lists the terms and conditions of the award, including the amount and duration of the financial aid. Simply put, there has to be an award including athletics aid for there to be a valid National Letter of Intent.

May I sign a National Letter of Intent before I am certified as eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse?
Yes. You may sign a National Letter of Intent before you receive your final certification determination from the Clearinghouse.

Where is my signed National Letter of Intent filed? Who is responsible for filing the document?
You should sign your National Letter of Intent in triplicate. Once signed, you should retain a copy for your records and you should send the two other executed documents to the signing institution. When the institution receives your letters, the will keep one copy and forward one copy to their conference office. The institution must file your NLI with the conference office within 21 days after the date of final signature or else the letter will be considered invalid. Once the conference office receives your information they will notify the National Letter of Intent office via mail or computer of the fact you have signed a National Letter of Intent.

Is a National Letter of Intent binding if the coach that signed me leaves the institution to take another position?
Yes. The National Letter of Intent you signed with an institution is valid if the coach that recruited you leaves the institution with which you signed. When you sign a National Letter of Intent you sign with an institution and not with a coach or a specific team.

Do I sign a National Letter of Intent if I transfer to another four-year institution?
No. A student-athlete transferring from one four-year institution to another does not sign another National Letter of Intent.

What happens if I change my mind and I do not want to attend the institution with which I sign and want to attend another National Letter of Intent institution?
If you do not attend the institution with which you signed or if you do not satisfy the terms of the National Letter of Intent Program, the basic penalty is you lose two years of eligibility at the next National Letter of Intent institution and you must sit two years in residence at that school.

Can the Basic Penalty which calls for a loss of two years of eligibility and requires that I sit two years in residence at the next National Letter of Intent Institution be reduced?
Yes. The Basic Penalty under the National Letter of Intent agreement can be reduced by entering into a Release Request Form with the signing institution. By entering into a Release Request Form, the institution and the student-athlete mutually agree to release each other from any commitment and liability to each other as a result of signing a National Letter of Intent. Pursuant to the Release Request Form, you may not represent a second National Letter of Intent institution in any sport during the first year of residence there and you will be charged with a loss of one season of competition in all sports.

Does the institution with which I signed have to grant me a Release Request Form if requested?
No. Just as the National Letter of Intent is a voluntary agreement, the Release Request Form is voluntary in nature. An institution is not required to provide you with a Release Request Form. If an institution denies your request for a Release Request Form, you may petition the National Letter of Intent Steering Committee for such an agreement.

If I do not satisfy my National Letter of Intent agreement, may I practice or receive athletics aid at another National Letter of Intent institution?
Yes. Signing a National Letter of Intent does not impact your ability to practice or receive athletics aid at another National Letter of Intent institution. The Basic Penalty under the National Letter of Intent program is that you lose two years of eligibility in all sports and have to sit two years in residence at the next National Letter of Intent institution.

If I fail to honor my NLI commitment and do not attend the institution with which I signed, may another NLI member institution recruit me?
Yes, if you have received a Release Request Form from the institution with which you signed, or the institution that desires to recruit you is granted permission to do so by the institution with which you signed. (If permission to contact is granted, it is not limited to certain institutions, but to all institutions seeking to recruit the student-athlete.)

Can the institution with which I signed grant me a full and complete release from my NLI?
No. The extent of relief that an institution can provide a student-athlete who signs a NLI but, for whatever reason, fails to honor the terms and conditions of the agreement is a Release Request Form. Student-athletes must appeal the terms and conditions of the Release Request Form to the NLI Steering Committee. However, if a student-athlete meets the conditions of the one-year absence provision (NLI Provision No. 7-c), the institution's athletics director may write a letter stating that athletically related aid will not be available for the subsequent fall term and allow the student-athlete to pursue other options without NLI repercussions. (See NLI Provision 7-c.)

If my request for a Release Request Form is denied, is the institution obligated to provide me an opportunity for a hearing as to why the request was denied?
No.

May a mid year enrollee sign a National Letter of Intent?
Under the terms of the National Letter of Intent Program a written award of athletics aid for the entire academic year must accompany a National Letter of Intent. Accordingly, the National Letter of Intent program does not allow for prospective student-athletes enrolling at midyear to sign a National Letter of Intent. The National Letter of Intent Program has created an exception to this general rule for midyear junior college transfer students in the sport of football. A midyear junior college transfer student in the sport of football may sign a National Letter of Intent during the designated signing period.

If I sign a letter of intent with a junior college or an NAIA school may I sign a National Letter of Intent?
Yes. You may sign a National Letter of Intent if you have already signed a letter of intent with a junior college or an NAIA school.

If I sign a National Letter of Intent may I attend an NAIA school or a school that does not participate in the NLI program without incurring any National Letter of Intent penalties?
If you sign a National Letter of Intent, you may attend any institution that does not belong to the National Letter of Intent Program without incurring any National Letter of Intent penalties while at the non participating school. Please note though, that if you ever transfer to an institution that did participate in the National Letter of Intent Program, the National Letter of Intent penalties would be applied at the next National Letter of Intent institution.

If I call the NCAA can I get more information about the National Letter of Intent?
No. The National Letter of Intent program is not administered by the NCAA. Rather, the National Letter of Intent Program is administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA).

If you have additional questions about the National Letter of Intent please contact your institution's conference office or the National Letter of Intent Program. If you have a question about NCAA eligibility, transfer regulations or recruiting you may contact the NCAA at (317) 917-6222.

For more information on the college recruiting and application process see The Making of a Student-Athlete
 

 

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