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. 8-15, 2017, or April 11 to Aug. 1, 2018.
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: Is an NLI only for one year?
A: Schools may offer athletic financial aid for up to five years. The NLI, however, only obligates the student-athlete to attend the institution for one year.
It should be noted that virtually all athletic scholarships are renewed for all of your college eligibility, provided that you remain in good academic and legal standing. They may not be decreased or eliminated based upon athletic performance.
Q: If I plan to defer my enrollment beyond 2018, should I sign an NLI?
A: No. If signing an NLI, it is intended that you will be attending the signing institution for the upcoming academic year.
Q: What happens if I sign an NLI and later decide to delay enrollment to play junior hockey?
A: If delayed enrollment was initiated by the signing institution’s coach or admissions office, the NLU must be declared null and void by the institution. If the delayed enrollment was initiated by you, 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 am I not signing an NLI?
A: There are two main reasons why you might not sign an NLI:
- you aren’t yet in grade 12, or aren’t planning to enroll in the NCAA school next fall
- 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.