High School : : General
Wednesday, November 02, 2011

National Letter of Intent reminders

Rick Allen        
Photo: Perfect Game
Congratulations to prospects (and parents) that have been recruited by an NCAA Division I or II baseball program and will have the opportunity to sign a National Letter of Intent starting November 9. That’s quite an honor to get a scholarship for all your hard work and effort!

Some points and reminders about the National Letter of Intent follow:

When you sign the National Letter of Intent, you’re committing to attend the school you sign with for one full academic year. In return, the school is committing to provide you an athletic scholarship for that first year. If you withdraw from school or transfer elsewhere before completing one academic year, there may be penalties that will affect your future eligibility. It is possible to get a release from that one year commitment, but many coaches don’t look kindly upon you not allowing a full year to see if you really like the school and the baseball program.

The NLI must be accompanied by a financial aid agreement (two separate documents) from the school you are signing with. Be sure that the financial aid agreement lists the same amount of athletic scholarship that was offered during the recruiting process.

Coaches aren’t allowed to deliver the National Letter in person and aren’t allowed to be present when the prospect signs the NLI. Sometimes a prospect’s family will ask if the coach can be at their “signing party” so they can get a picture together when their son signs the NLI. NCAA rules don’t permit this, but it’s OK for NAIA schools and junior colleges.

If you are a multi-sport athlete who is considering playing both baseball and football at the college level (applies to both NCAA Division I and II), you should not sign with your school until the football signing period in February. This is because a school that signs a football player to a scholarship in baseball (or another fall signing sport) to get a “jump” on the other schools, so the player doesn’t have to wait until February to sign, will jeopardize that player’s eligibility for the first year.

It is possible to “double sign” with an NCAA program and a Junior College. This is somewhat common since players may want to “lock in” with an NCAA program, but also want to keep their options open to attend Junior College and be able to be selected in the MLB draft after their freshman year. (Players can sign with a Junior College starting on January 15.)

Prospects that sign with an NCAA program, but start out at Junior College, need to keep in mind that by signing the National Letter of Intent, they are still committed to that NCAA program until they graduate from the Junior College. An athlete who signs with NCAA school A, but instead goes to Junior College, and then chooses to enroll at NCAA school B before completing their requirements for the Associates degree will still be bound to NCAA school A, unless A will grant them a complete release from the NLI.

If you’re interested in individual assistance with questions about recruiting, eligibility, financial aid, or transfer rules, contact Rick Allen at rick@informedathlete.com or 918-994-7272, or visit their website at www.informedathlete.com. Rick is uniquely qualified to advise parents, athletes, and coaches on these issues as the parent of a recruited prospect who has over 20 years of experience managing compliance with NCAA rules at two major universities and as a consultant to college athletic departments.
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