Athletic Recruiting NCAA

National Letter of Intent Announces Signing Period Changes

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has suspended in-person recruiting through July 31st. Based on this extended “dead period,” the National Letter of Intent officially announced new Signing Periods for prospective athletes signing their NLI’s during 2019-2020 and enrolling in the 2020-2021 school year.

Learn more about the National Letter of Intent updates and how they impact the class of 2020—and beyond—below.

National Letter of Intent Updates

  • All National Letter of Intent (NLI) signings were suspended through April 15 for D1 and D2 sports
  • The Division 1 Basketball Regular Signing Period, originally scheduled between April 15-May 20 has been extended until August 1, 2020
  • The Division 1 and Division 2 Football Regular Signing Periods, originally scheduled between February 5-April 1 have also been extended until August 1, 2020
  • The Regular Signing Period for all other D1/D2 sports has not changed, and will go until August 1

Do all student-athletes have to sign the NLI?

Student-athletes do not have to sign the National Letter of Intent to compete in college. Recruits can also sign an NLI after the last signing period ends, but it is rare that there will be any roster spots left—especially with the NLI’s decision to extend the Regular Signing Period until August 1 for all D1/D2 sports.

Remember, there are no Signing Periods for D3, NAIA and Junior College Programs. While NAIA and NJCAA do have their own versions of the letter, and NCAA D3 recruits often sign a celebratory signing form, they are not considered a binding contract like the NLI. College walk-ons, including preferred, recruiting and unrecruited walk-ons at any level do no sign the NLI.

How does this impact the high school class of 2020?

Student-athletes will be able to sign their NLI’s starting April 15, 2020 through August 1, 2020. Current senior football and basketball players now have more time to sign with D1 and D2 programs. For all other sports, the Signing Period has not changed.

Sport(s) Past Signing Period NEW Signing Period
D1 Basketball April 15-May 20, 2020 April 15-August 1, 2020
D1 and D2 Football February 5-April 1, 2020 April 15-August 1, 2020
All Other D1 and D2 Sports November 13, 2019-August 1, 2020 April 15-August 1, 2020

Current seniors who have already signed their NLI are not affected by these changes. However, keep in mind that signing an NLI does not guarantee admission—you must still get apply and get accepted into your school in order for the NLI to be valid.  

How does this impact the high school class of 2021?

Future Signing Dates for prospective student-athletes who plan to sign during the 2020-2021 academic year and enroll in college in 2021-2022 have not been affected. Check out the Future Signing Period schedule below: 

Sport(s) Initial Signing Date Final Signing Date
D1 Basketball (Early Period) November 11, 2020 November 18, 2020
D1 Basketball (Regular Period) April 14, 2021 May 19, 2021
D1 Football (Early Period) December 16, 2020 December 18, 2020
D1 and D2 Football (Midyear JC Transfer) December 16, 2020 January 15, 2021
D1 and D2 Football (Regular Period) February 3, 2021 D1: April 1, 2021
D2: August 1, 2021
All Other Division 1 and 2 Sports November 11, 2020 August 1, 2021
About the author
Alex Chomik