Finding a school was difficult. Making sure the offer was right, stressful. Signing your commitment should be the easy thing if you know what you are doing.
So you are good enough to be recruited and receive a scholarship, now you have to sign your National Letter of Intent (NLI) but have no idea what you should be expecting or you are reading. Don't stress, you are not the first one to be in this spot.
Finding a school was difficult. Making sure the offer was right, stressful. Signing your commitment should be the easy thing if you know what you are doing. The NLI is just the first step towards becoming a Collegiate student-athlete. Make sure you are starting with the right foot by knowing everything there is to know about the NLI.
NLI is the agreement between the student-athlete and the institution he/she will attend. In this agreement:
- The student-athlete is committed to study full-time and compete in the university that issues the NLI during a full academic year (two semesters or three semesters)
- The university is committed to providing a sports scholarship to the student-athlete during a full academic year (two semesters or three semesters).
Student-Athletes by signing the NLI cannot be part of any other school athletics without going through a transfer process and are guaranteeing at least a year of participation to the institution.
Moreover, it is important to know that while an NLI is almost the end of the process, there are still requirements that could void the document. These are:
- Admissions Requirement: If the institution does not grant the student-athlete with admission.
- Eligibility Requirements: If the student-athlete is not granted a clear eligibility status by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- OneYear Absence: If the student-athlete does not participate within this one-year period. Exceptions to this rule are, mandatory military service, church missions and US Army service.
- Discontinued Sport: If the institution named in the document discontinues the sport.
Most student-athletes and their family confuse verbal commitment and the NLI. While a verbal commitment can be offered and accepted any time within the year, the NLI is only signed in the following dates:
Is important to understand that by signing this NLI you are not being guaranteed anything other than what it states in writing. If by any chance the coach mentioned something that is not in writing, make sure he fixes that. Also, this document can not guarantee you a spot on the team. While it is likely this will happen, your performance will be the determining factor for playing time.
Finally, keep in mind the struggle and all the work it has taken you to get to this point. Signing the NLI is the easy part. Just be ready to fulfill the end of your bargain. You are now a student-athlete that needs to prove it's worth.