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Understanding the National Letter of Intent and Athletic Scholarships


Signing a National Letter of Intent marks the end of the recruiting process. It commits you to an academic institution for an academic year in return for an athletic scholarship or other financial aid. Once you have signed, other schools are prevented from contacting you.

Letters can be signed any time during a signing period (which vary based on the sport), but many athletes sign on National Signing Day in February.

Here are key facts to understand about signing a National Letter of Intent:


  • The institution offering you the athletic scholarship will mail, email or fax you two copies of the letter to be signed. Sign both copies, sending one back to the institution and keeping the other for your records.

  • If you verbally committed to one institution, you are allowed to sign a National Letter of Intent with a different school.

  • You only sign a National Letter of Intent of intent once, although it is renewed annually.

  • If you are under the age of 21, you need a parent to sign the letter to make it legally binding.

  • Your potential coach may not be present during the signing of your letter in accordance with NCAA rules.

  • You may sign the letter even if you have yet to qualify with the NCAA Clearinghouse. If you are not cleared, the letter is nullified.


Athletic scholarships are the result of a lot of hard work. And you have more work ahead of you – both in the classroom and on the field. When you sign your National Letter of Intent, you should be proud of how far you've come and excited about where you are going!

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