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Signing the NLI FAQs

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  • Am I required to sign an NLI?
    • Am I required to sign an NLI?

      No. You are not required to sign an NLI but many prospective student-athletes sign because they want to create certainty in the recruiting process. Specifically, by signing an NLI, you agree to attend the institution for one year in exchange for the institution's promise, in writing, to provide you athletics financial aid for the entire academic year. Simply, by signing an NLI you are given an award including athletics aid for the upcoming academic year provided you are admitted to the institution and you are eligible for athletics aid under NCAA rules. Furthermore, by signing an NLI you effectively end the recruiting process. Once you sign an NLI, a recruiting ban goes into effect and you may no longer be recruited by any other NLI school.

  • Who signs an NLI?
    • Who signs an NLI?

      Prospective student-athletes enrolling in a four-year institution for the first time can sign an NLI. Student-athletes who start their academic career at a four-year institution and then transfer to a two-year college may also sign an NLI if they plan on entering a second four-year institution.

  • Do I sign an NLI every year?
    • Do I sign an NLI every year?

      No. Although under NCAA rules you must be notified annually regarding whether your athletics aid has been renewed, you only sign an NLI when you first enroll in a four-year institution or if you are a 4-2-4 transfer student.

  • Receiving NLI by Email
    • Can a school send me my NLI by email?

      Yes. It is permissible for an institution to provide a prospective student-athlete with an NLI as an attachment to an email provided the offer of athletic aid is also included in the email. Be sure to follow the institution's instructions for signing and returning the NLI and athletics aid agreement to the institution. It is important that you keep a copy of the NLI and athletics aid agreement for your records.

  • Submitting the NLI by Fax or Electronically
    • Is it permissible to submit the NLI to the instituion by fax or electronically?

      Yes. When you sign the NLI you enter into an agreement with the institution. Fax and email only represent the means by which you transmit the NLI. Accordingly, an NLI transmitted electronically is permissible. Be sure to follow the institution's instructions for signing and returning the NLI and athletics aid agreement to the institution. It is important that you keep a copy of the NLI and athletics aid agreement for your records.

  • Permissible Time Period to Sign
    • When is the permissible time period for signing an NLI?

      You may sign an NLI only during the designated signing period. If you sign an NLI outside the appropriate signing period, the NLI shall be considered invalid. Presuming you are within the permissible signing period, you and your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI and financial aid agreement within 7 days of the issuance date noted on the NLI signing page. You may find the appropriate signing period for your sport on the NLI website:

  • Signing on the Initial Signing Day
    • Am I required to sign the NLI on the initial signing day for my sport?

      No. Signing the NLI is voluntary at any and all times. Prospective student-athletes are not required to sign the NLI on the first day of the signing period. Many prospective student-athletes do choose to sign their NLI on the first available day to bring an end to the recruiting process. You should note the NLI Provision allows a student 7 days from the date the NLI is issued (or the initial signing date if the NLI is received before that date) to sign and still have it declared valid.

  • Parent or Legal Guardian's Signiture
    • Is it necessary for a parent or legal gardian to sign the NLI?

      Yes. If you are under the age of 21, regardless of marital status, your parent or legal guardian must sign the NLI in order for it to be considered valid. If you are 21 years of age or older, it is not necessary for your parent or legal guardian to sign the document.

  • No Parent or Legal Guardian Available
    • Can I sign an NLI if I don't have a parent or legal guardian available to sign with me?

      If your parent or legal guardian is not available (e.g. incarcerated, death), it is permissible for another individual to sign the NLI with you. You must be approved in advance by the NLI Office before you sign the NLI. In order to gain approval, you should work with the school recruiting you to put together a statement with the following information:
      (1) Explain why your parent or legal guardian is unable to sign the NLI with you.
      (2) The name of the person (not a coach or athletics administrator) who has agreed to sign with you, and
      (3) The reason why your parent or legal guardian is not able to sign. Your school will submit this information and any supporting documentation to the NLI Office for review and a decision.

  • Signing Second NLI in Different Sport
    • If I sign an NLI in one sport may I sign a second NLI in a different sport?

      No. You may only sign one valid NLI annually. Furthermore, when you sign an NLI, the letter is signed with an institution and not with a coach.

  • Walking on to the Team
    • If I am going to walk-on to the team, may I sign an NLI?

      No. An institution is strictly prohibited from allowing you to sign an NLI if you are a non-scholarship walk-on. In order for an NLI to be considered valid, it must be accompanied by an athletics financial aid award letter, which lists the terms and conditions of the award, including the amount of the financial aid. The atletics financial aid offer must be signed by both the prospective student-athlete and his or her parent or legal guardian. Simply put, there must be an athletics scholarship for an NLI to be valid.

  • Signing Before Certified as Eligible
    • May I sign an NLI before I am certified as eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center?

      Yes. You may sign an NLI before you receive your final certification determination from the NCAA Eligibility Center. When you sign an NLI, you agree to submit the necessary information and documents to the Eligibility Center. These documents do not have to be received by the Eligibility Center before you sign an NLI. Later if you are determined by the Eligibility Center to be a nonqualifier per NCAA rules, this means you are not eligible at the NLI member institution for practice, competition and athletics aid. Your NLI will be declared null and void by the NLI signing institution, if by the opening day of classes, you are not academically eligible.

  • Filing of NLI
    • Where is my signed NLI filed and who is responsible for filing it?

      You should sign your NLI in duplicate. Once you have signed it twice, retain one copy of the signed NLI for your records. You should send the other copy back to the institution. When the institution receives it, they are responsible for forwarding a copy to their conference office. The institution must file your NLI with its conference within 14 days after the date of final signiture. If this filiing deadline is not met, the letter will be decalared invalid.

  • More Questions
    • More Questions

      If your question was not answered through the FAQs, NLI videos, tutorials or other information included on the NLI website, you can contact the NLI Office at 317-223-0706.