Posts Tagged “NLI”

The dates to sign a national letter of intent for the early period are coming upon us very quickly. If you are offered to sign a national letter of intent, it is important to know what exactly you are signing and all the rules that come along with signing it. For this reason, I have listed below some of the basics about national letters of intent.

What exactly is a National Letter of Intent?

A national letter of intent is a binding contract between a player and a school. Once you have signed a letter of intent, you must attend school there for at least one year. It is basically a way to establish that you are done being recruited and have chosen the program you want to be a part of.

Verbal Scholarships and National Letters of Intent are NOT the Same

It is important to not confuse national letters of intent with verbal scholarships. Unlike a letter of intent, verbal scholarships are not binding. With verbal scholarships, you can tell a school you are committing to them, but still be actively recruited by other schools. A verbal scholarship basically states that if you decide to enroll at the given school, the school will give you a scholarship to play there. Also unlike letters of intent, verbal scholarships can be agreed to at any time.

What if you have a Change of Heart?

One important thing to know about national letters of intent is the penalty you receive if you ultimately decide to opt out and attend a different school instead. When you sign a letter of intent, you are contractually obligated to attend the given school for one year. If you break this agreement, you are penalized by not being allowed to participate in any sports for one season. Also, you must attend at least one year at your new school, no exceptions. This is why it is so important that you are one hundred percent positive on what school you want to attend before signing a national letter of intent.

What Else you Need to Know

Other than these basic facts about letters of intent, there are still plenty of important features about them you need to know. Different sports have different signing dates. Some sports, like soccer and field hockey, give you a six-month period to sign a national letter of intent. Others, like basketball, give you as little as one week to sign. Also, letters of intent are only given out by NCAA division I and II schools. But, some schools, like the Ivy Leagues, cannot give these out. It’s important that you do your research on schools and sports you are interested in when it comes time to start committing to schools. See the table below for this year’s dates.


Initial Signing Date

Final Signing Date

Basketball and all other sports not listed (early period)

November 10, 2010

November 17, 2010


December 15, 2010

January 15, 2011

Football Mid-Year JC Transfer

February 2, 2011

April 1, 2011

Field Hockey, Soccer, Track and Field, Cross Country, Men’s Water Polo

February 2, 2011

August 1, 2011

Basketball (regular period)

April 13, 2011

May 18, 2011

All other sports not listed (regular period)

April 13, 2011

August 1, 2011

For more important information about National Letters of Intent, including next year’s date, visit

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