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Knowing your Intent


During the recruiting process one important thing to be aware of are the signing periods for your sport. The signing deadline for your National Letter of Intent (NLI) is not something to miss, as are any deadlines within this process. In this blog I will be going through each of the National Letter of Intent signing periods for all sports for the 2012-2013 school year.

First here is some information that athletes should know about the NLI. The NCAA Eligibility Center manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 620 Division I and Division II participating institutions.

The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the National Letter of Intent, and no institution is required to join the program.

Also by signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution.

The National Letter of Intent has many advantages to both prospective student-athletes and participating educational institutions:


  • Once a National Letter of Intent is signed, prospective student-athletes are no longer subject to further recruiting contacts and calls.

  • Student-athletes are assured of an athletics scholarship for a minimum of one full academic year.

  • By emphasizing a commitment to an educational institution, not particular coaches or teams, the program focuses on a prospective student-athlete's educational objectives.


Something to be aware of is that no Division III schools, NAIA schools, junior colleges or preparatory schools are members of the NLI Program. However, many NAIA institutions and junior colleges do use a Letter of Intent, implemented either by the national association, their individual conferences, or even individual schools. So the NLI is used mostly by Division 1 and Division 2 NCAA governed institutions.

It is important to note your sports dates and be prepared when your period comes up.  Part of being proactive within the recruiting process means being knowledgeable to your situation and what deadlines are part of it.  Nothing will quite be like the feeling of excitement and relief that your NLI is signed.


I hope this information helps you in your process and best of luck in your recruitment.

-Gwinn out

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