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What The Early Signing Period Means For Your Recruiting Journey

signed national letter of intent
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The early signing period for the National Letter of Intent is Wednesday, the 12th, through the 19th, for all sports except for football, soccer and men’s water polo.

The NLI is a binding agreement (as opposed to the verbal agreement, which is typically–but not always–honored as if it’s binding) between the prospective student and NLI member institution. The student agrees to attend at least for one academic year, in exchange for at least one year of guaranteed financial aid.

NLI institutions include almost all Division I schools, except for service academies and the Ivy League, and the majority of DII programs. But no DIII, NAIA, prep schools or two-year colleges participate in the program.

If you’re not signing a letter today, do you know the next steps you should be taking in your own recruiting journey? This FAQ for baseball players can actually help any seniors.

In honor of all of the student-athletes around the U.S. taking pen to paper this week, we wanted to celebrate some of the athletes who worked with us, and will be confirming their commitment to a college team and the sport they love.*

Briannah, 2015 Commit to DII Women’s Volleyball

I’m a senior at a high school in Utah and captain of our varsity girls’ volleyball team. I also play club volleyball.

My main concern was how I was going to get noticed by all these college coaches. NCSA helped me out tremendously throughout my recruiting process. I have received almost 100 or more emails throughout the country. It was exciting to pick and choose the right colleges for me according to my list of important priorities. I got to go on two official visits, and decided with my parents to commit early on my second visit.

My simple advice to all athletes and their parents is to find the right tool to get your athlete through the recruiting process.

Heidi, 2015 Commit to NAIA Women’s Lacrosse

I’ve met the perfect coach for me, and I would never have known this school even existed without NCSA.

Cole, 2015 Commit to DI Men’s Wrestling

The most surprising thing about the recruiting process was how much work is involved with promoting yourself as an athlete to prospective colleges and learning exactly what information to send to them.

I needed to be more timely in completing some of the tasks my recruiting coach gave me to complete — I think maybe my official visits could have been scheduled a bit earlier if I’d been more prompt.

Wrestling at the DI level is something every young wrestler dreams of. More than accomplishing that, however, is earning the opportunity to gain lifelong friendships and contacts for my future once my college career is over.


*Ever wonder why we only use student-athletes’ first names and their division, but not the school they attend? The NCAA has regulations about endorsements and compensation student-athletes are able to make and receive, and we want to make sure we aren’t affecting anyone’s compliance. (Remember how there was a question about whether even Mo’ne Davis could lose her eligibility?)

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About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.