Signing Day and the NLI By Stewart Brown This article is Signing Day has become a big event for many athletes with many high schools having special events when their athletes are signing on for the next stage of their academic and athletic career. For some athletes, the blue-chippers, they may even make the occasional appearance on national or local television. And, of course, the local newspapers fill many inches of their sports columns with the breaking news of who has signed where on signing day. On November 10 many high school seniors can sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI) and a financial aid agreement with the college of their choice. But, what does the NLI do for you as a college prospect? Simply put: the NLI is a binding written contract between you and the institution you have chosen to attend. You are committing yourself to attend, and participate, for that college or university for one year. In return the college or university is awarding you scholarship money to pay part, or all, or your tuition, room, board, books and fees. The key to the above statement is that you are committing to an institution and their program. You are not committing to a coach. If the coach leaves his or her position you are still bound to that institution after signing the NLI for one full academic year, not one season. However, there is a process of appeal if you wish to break your contract or if the institution wants to break their contract with you. There are different signing dates for different sports throughout the year with November 10 being the “early” signing period for specific sports: basketball, lacrosse, and all other sports that are not cross country, football, field hockey, soccer, track & field, or water polo. These sports have a spring signing date. For more information on the NLI, specific signing dates, and the NLI Provisions, see the National Letter website.