With the National Letter of Intent’s early signing period beginning Wednesday, we wanted to offer the following answers to frequently asked questions about the NLI.
Q: What is an NLI?
A: The NLI, or National Letter of Intent, is the name of the document that formalizes an athletic scholarship. It is a binding agreement between a student-athlete and a university in which the university agrees to provide athletic aid in exchange for the student-athlete’s agreement to attend the university.
It also effectively ends the recruiting process. No other school may recruit a student-athlete who has signed an NLI.
Q: When can a student-athlete sign an NLI?
A: A student-athlete must be in grade 12 (or later) to sign an NLI, and may sign an NLI during the appropriate signing periods. For hockey this year, that means Nov. 13-20, 2013, or April 16 to Aug. 1, 2014.
Q: How do I get an NLI to sign?
A: The institution recruiting you will send you the NLI. It can be sent to you by express mail, courier service, regular mail, email or fax. You may also receive an NLI while on an official or unofficial visit to campus, although a coach may not deliver it to you off campus.
Q: When I sign an NLI what do I agree to?
A: When you sign an NLI, you agree to attend the institution listed on the NLI for one academic year in exchange for the institution awarding athletics financial aid for one academic year.
Q: Will everyone signing an NLI this fall play college hockey next fall?
A: Not necessarily. The agreement outlined in the NLI may be deferred by mutual agreement of the student-athlete and the institution. If a coach or admissions office delays a student-athlete’s enrollment the NLI may be declared null and void. If a student-athlete decides to delay their enrollment the NLI remains binding.
Q: Is an NLI binding if the coach of my sport leaves the institution?
A: Yes. The NLI represents an agreement between a student-athlete and the institution, not with a coach or specific team.
Q: If I’ve verbally committed to a school, why haven’t I signed an NLI?
A: There are two main reasons why you might not sign an NLI:
- you aren’t yet in grade 12
- You aren’t receiving an athletic scholarship (the NLI does not cover academic- or need-based financial aid)
Q: May I sign an NLI if I haven’t been certified as eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center?
A: Yes, You may sign an NLI before you receive your final certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center. By signing an NLI, you agree to submit the necessary information to the Eligibility Center. If you are determined to be a nonqualifier by the Eligibility Center, your NLI will be rendered null and void.
For more on the National Letter of Intent, visit the NCAA’s NLI web site.