What is National Signing Day?
National Signing Day on November 10th is the first official day that student-athletes can officially commit to a Division I or Division II college or university. Beginning on this date, players can receive their official paperwork (NLI) from the school and “sign” to confirm their commitment to the school for the upcoming season.
What is a National Letter of Intent (NLI)
The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.(Division I & II Programs)
- 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).
The 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.
An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution.
Division I/II– A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete agreeing to attend a Division I or II college for one academic year. Participating colleges agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Other forms of financial aid do not guarantee the student-athlete financial aid.
The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to receive financial aid or participate in sports.
Signing a National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process because participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already signed letters with other participating schools.
A student-athlete who signs a National Letter of Intent but decides to attend another college may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she loses one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at the new school before being eligible to compete.
Students not receiving athletic scholarships may still receive an “Intent to Play” document that can be signed and returned to the school.
Division III– Division III institutions are permitted to use a standard, NCAA provided, non-binding celebratory signing form. A college-bound student-athlete is permitted to sign the celebratory signing form at any point, including high school signing events, after the student-athlete has been accepted to the institution. Institutions should keep in mind, however, that they are not permitted to publicize a student-athlete’s commitment to the institution until the student-athlete has submitted a financial deposit (Bylaw 13.10.7).
NAIA– Prospective students can make a commitment to an NAIA school at any time. The NAIA does not have arbitrary signing dates or time limitations on when a prospective student may commit to a school. While most signings occur in a prospective student’s senior year in high school, the NAIA does not prevent verbal or written agreements from happening earlier in a student’s high school career. Essentially a prospective student may reach an agreement with a school any time the student (and family) is comfortable with making such a commitment. These players would then sign an “Intent to Play” document.
NJCAA– Prospective students who intend to play college soccer at the Junior College level will have the opportunity to sign an “Intent to Play” document. By signing the LOI, players are now an unrecruitable student-athlete. An unrecruitable student-athlete is not permitted to have any contact with any other NJCAA member college’s athletic department staff or representative.