February is a month of important dates. Most dates on the calendar people know; Super Bowl (Feb 1), Valentines’ Day (Feb 14), Presidents Day (Feb 16). But, for most senior student athletes there is one very important day in February … Signing Day!
Signing Day is also known in the athletic world as the day athletes sign their National Letter of Intent. It is the day when verbal commitments between college coaches and student-athletes become solidified thanks to a well executed recruiting strategy. (Tip- verbal are not binding until you sign on the dotted lines. College coaches and student-athletes are notorious for verbally committing to more than one college or student-athlete..thus the hats:)
Here’s a quick review of the NLI Signing Day
What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete when the student-athlete agrees to attend a Division I or II college or university for one academic year. Division 3 and Junior Colleges (JUCO) do not have formal signing days (yet). The NLI is a binding agreement between Participating institutions agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is enrolled in classes and academically eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules.
When a student athlete signs his or her National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process and competing schools are prohibited from recruiting that student-athlete.
Change Your Mind
Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent she or he may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but enrolls in a different college or university, she or he will lose one full year of eligibility. To be athletically eligible the student-athlete must complete a full academic year at their new school before being allowed to compete.
Different Signing Days for Different Sports
Signing day varies by sport. The reason for this is because some spring sports like baseball, softball and track do not conclude until after February 4. Signing day for different sports is April 15. I posted the chart to reference.
Good luck to all the senior student-athletes signing to play college ball next year at the college or university of their choice.
Coach Mike Woosley is a National Scouting Director at CSA-PrepStar. As a professional collegiate sports scout Mike works with qualified next level student-athletes to find the right college athletic and academic fit.