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What is... a 'Letter of Intent'?

You may have seen pictures of future College-Athletes signing forms and announcing their intention to play Sports at a College in the USA, but what actually are those forms and what is it all about? We answer the question; What is a Letter of Intent?



The National Letter of Intent program is a system used by nearly every NCAA D1 institution and some D2 to ensure the commitment of future Student Athletes and is often abbreviated to NLI. No D3 institutions, NAIA schools, or two year colleges participate in the NLI program, and an NLI is not to be confused with a verbal commitment or scholarship offer acceptance.


A National Letter of Intent or an NLI is a binding agreement between a future College Athlete and the institution they are agreeing to attend. By signing the document the student is promising to not only attend the College or University, but that they will also stop all communication with other College or University coaches who may have been recruiting them or hoped to recruit them at some point in the future. This means that the recruiting portion of your journey to College Sports is completed!



It's important to note that the commitment is for 1 year of attendance and 1 year of Athletic Scholarship, and that you are not necessarily committing to a full 4 years at the school. If you wish to remain at the same school after 1 year you will need to resign and they will need to renew your scholarship offer.


Whilst this is a binding agreement, there are no legal consequences if you ultimately decided not to attend the institution. The program applies penalties to any student-athletes who don't attend the school they signed an NLI for, however only schools that are part of the program will enforce this and there is a process you can go through to void the agreement if necessary to avoid a penalty. So if you decided to join another University team and they are not part of the program, you wouldn't face any punishment.



Do you need to sign an NLI to go to College in the USA or receive Athletic Scholarship? Absolutely not! Many students will go through the recruitment process and receive scholarship regardless of if they have signed an NLI. As we mentioned, there are only

certain schools in NCAA D1 and D2 that participate in the program, and even if you decide to attend one of these school's it is not required to sign an NLI, and if you choose to attend a school in D3, the NAIA, or a Junior College this process won't apply.


To learn more about the scholarship process and how you can become a US College Athlete get in touch with us here!


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