Wednesday, October 1, 2008
NLI Signing FAQ's
As the NLI date nears next month, many have e-mailed us about the signing process. The following is right off the National Letter of Intent web site. It should answer most of the questions that you may have as November 12th nears. This is a week long early signing period that lasts through November 19th.
Signing the National Letter of Intent
Who signs a National Letter of Intent?
Generally, only prospective student-athletes enrolling in a four-year institution for the first time sign a National Letter of Intent. Student-athletes who start their academic career at a four-year institution and then transfer to a junior college may also sign a National Letter of Intent if they plan on entering a second four-year institution.
How do I get a National Letter of Intent to sign?
The institution recruiting you will send you the National Letter of Intent. It can only come by express mail, courier service, regular mail, e-mail or facsimile machine. The materials you receive must include an offer of athletics financial aid for the entire academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
Is it OK for a school to send me my National Letter of Intent via e-mail?
Yes. It is permissible for an institution to provide a prospective student-athlete with a National Letter of Intent as an attachment to an e-mail, provided the offer of athletically-related financial aid is also included in the e-mail. In this situation, you should print out the NLI and financial aid agreement, sign two copies, and send one copy of each document back to the institution. (Be sure to keep the other copy for your records.)
Is a National Letter of Intent considered valid if I submit it to the institution via facsimile or electronically?
Yes. When you sign the National Letter of Intent you enter into an agreement with the institution. Fax and e-mail only represent the means by which you transmit the National Letter. Accordingly, a National Letter of Intent transmitted by facsimile or electronically is considered valid. In addition to sending the fax or e-mail, you should also return the hard copy of the National Letter to the signing institution. (Be sure to keep one copy of the NLI and financial aid agreement for your records.)
Can a coach be present when I sign the National Letter of Intent off campus? No. A coach cannot be present when you sign a National Letter of Intent off campus. Pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 184.108.40.206.1, any in-person, off-campus contact made with a prospect for the purpose of signing a National Letter of Intent or attendance at activities related to the signing of the National Letter of Intent is prohibited.
Is it permissible to receive a National Letter of Intent while on campus for an official or unofficial visit? Yes. While under the terms of the NCAA and National Letter of Intent program a coach or institutional representative may not hand-deliver a National Letter of Intent off campus, there is nothing that precludes you from receiving a National Letter of Intent while on campus for an official visit. Please remember that you may only sign a National Letter of Intent during a permissible signing period. Furthermore, signing a National Letter of Intent is a big commitment. Accordingly, it is strongly suggested that you consult your parent or legal guardian in this decision-making process.
When is the permissible time period for signing a National Letter of Intent? You may sign a National Letter of Intent only during the designated signing period. If you sign a National Letter of Intent outside the appropriate signing period, the National Letter of Intent shall be considered null and void. Presuming you are within the permissible signing period, you and your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI and financial aid agreement within 14 days of issuance.
You may find the appropriate signing period for your sport on the Signing Dates page of the National Letter of Intent web site.
Am I required to sign the National Letter of Intent on the initial signing day for my sport? No. Signing the National Letter of Intent is voluntary at any and all times. Students are not required to sign the NLI on the first day of the signing period, commonly called "Signing Day" in the sport of football. Many students do choose to sign their NLI on the first available day to bring to an end the recruiting process, as the NLI recruiting ban goes into effect when the student signs the Letter. You should note NLI Provision 13 allows a student 14 days from the date the NLI is issued (or the initial signing date if the Letter is received before that date) to sign the Letter and still have it be declared valid.
If I do not live with a parent or legal guardian, is it necessary for a parent or legal guardian to sign the National Letter of Intent? Yes. If you are under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, your parent or legal guardian must sign the National Letter of Intent in order for it to be considered valid. If you are 21 years of age or older, it is not necessary for your parent or legal guardian to sign the document.
If my parent or legal guardian lives in a different location than I do, is it permissible to sign a Letter sent by facsimile or electronically? Yes. While not ideal, it is permissible to obtain signatures on a National Letter of Intent via fax or email. From a procedural stand point, you should make two copies of the fax or email and sign both individually. Once signed, you should retain a copy for your records and return the other copy to the institution. When the institution receives its copy, administrators will forward a copy to their conference office.
Can I sign a National Letter of Intent if I don't have a parent or legal guardian available to sign with me? Under specified circumstances. If your parent or legal guardian is not available (incarcerated, death, etc.), it is permissible for another individual to sign the NLI with you. He or she must be approved in advance by the Policy & Review Committee before you sign the NLI. In order to gain Policy & Review Committee approval, you should work with the school recruiting you to put together a statement with the following information: (1) Explain why your parent or legal guardian is unable to sign the NLI with you. (2) Include the name and signature of someone (not a coach or athletics administrator) who has agreed to sign with you. (3) Sign the statement yourself. (4) Have the school submit the statement and any supporting documentation to the NLI Policy & Review Committee for review and a decision.
If I sign a National Letter of Intent in one sport may I sign a second National Letter of Intent in a different sport? No. You may only sign one valid National Letter of Intent annually. Furthermore, when you sign a National Letter of Intent, the Letter is signed with an institution and not with a coach or with a specific sports team.
If I am going to walk on to the team, may I sign a National Letter of Intent?
No. An institution is strictly prohibited from allowing you to sign a National Letter of Intent if you are a non-scholarship walk-on. In order for a National Letter of Intent it be considered valid, it must be accompanied by an athletics financial aid award letter, which lists the terms and conditions of the award, including the amount and duration of the financial aid. The athletics financial aid offer must be signed by both the student and his or her parent or legal guardian. Simply put, there must be an athletics scholarship for a National Letter of Intent to be valid.
May I sign a National Letter of Intent before I am certified as eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center?
Yes. You may sign a National Letter of Intent before you receive your final certification determination from the NCAA Eligibility Center. When you sign a National Letter of Intent you agree to submit the necessary information and documents to the NCAA. If you are classified by the NCAA Eligibility Center as a qualifier, the National Letter of Intent is considered valid. If you are classified as a nonqualifier pursuant to NCAA Bylaw 14.3, your National Letter of Intent is rendered null and void.
Where is my signed National Letter of Intent filed, and who is responsible for filing it?
You should sign your National Letter of Intent in duplicate. Once you have signed it twice, retain one copy of the signed Letter for your records. You should send the other copy back to the institution. When the institution receives your Letter, it will keep the signed document and forward a copy to its conference office. The institution must file your NLI with its conference office within 21 days after the date of final signature. If this filing deadline is not met, the Letter will be void.