“You guys talked about National Signing Day, but what is it exactly?”

11 03 2009

Good question, and here’s our answer:

National Signing Day is the first day that high school seniors can sign National Letters of Intent (NLI), for college football. This date is also when athletes for Field Hockey, Soccer, Track and Field, Cross Country, and Men’s Water Polo sign their NLIs, and there are five other dates throughout the year when seniors can sign. However, this particular date (always the first Wednesday in February) receives the most media attention because of the hype and dollars surrounding high school and college football.

“Okay, but what else?”

According to the NCAA, “By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution.”

In a nutshell, signing an NLI is a binding agreement which means that the school you sign with will provide you with an athletic scholarship (either partial or full) for one year, that you will attend that school, and that other schools will stop recruiting you once you sign.

There are some finer details about Signing Day and National Letters of Intent that deserve mention and you can be sure we’ll get to those next time. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Recruit Scoop photo and video albums of SportsPage members signing NLIs last week!




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