How well do you know the ins and outs of the National Letter of Intent process? Here’s a quiz to test your knowledge:
1John Doe signs an NLI to play basketball for State University, but the coach is fired before Doe arrives on campus. Because he intended to play for that particular coach, Doe may declare his letter void and sign with a new school without penalty. True or false?
Answer: False. The NLI states specifically: “I understand I have signed this NLI with the institution and not for a specific sport or coach. If the coach leaves the institution or the sports program (e.g., not retained, resigned), I remain bound by the provisions of this NLI.”
2John Doe isn’t a good enough player to receive a scholarship offer, but is good enough to walk on to Northwestern Eastern State’s football team. The school wants to guarantee him a spot on the team by issuing him an NLI, but the coach is told by the compliance director that he is not allowed to do that. Is the compliance director correct?
Answer: Yes. An NLI must be accompanied by a financial-aid agreement. Walk-ons are not a part of the NLI process.
3Jane Doe has played two seasons of tennis at Southern Tech University, and decides after her sophomore season that she wants to transfer to an out-of-conference school in her hometown. Southern Tech agrees to release Jane from her scholarship, but will not allow her to transfer to her hometown school. Jane has no choice but to accept this decision. True or false?
Answer: False, though her options are somewhat limited. She can appeal the school’s decision, and she can also transfer to her hometown school anyway, then forfeit a season of competition while sitting one academic year without financial aid.
4John Doe is a decent student and has never been arrested or in trouble, but it’s clear during his freshman season at Football Conglomerate University that he isn’t a good enough player to help the team. The school decides at the end of the season that it will not renew his scholarship, and tells him he must leave in December when the semester ends. Is this permissible?
Answer: No. An NLI guarantees enrollment and financial aid for a full academic year, not just a full sports season. John may continue collecting financial aid as outlined in his original agreement and remain at the school until the academic year ends, at which time he may appeal the school’s decision not to renew his scholarship, if he so chooses.
5John Doe is issued an NLI and paperwork for a financial-aid agreement on the first day of the February signing period from Big State University to play football. But at the last minute, he receives an offer from another school he wants to play for. After mulling it over for 16 days, John signs the original NLI and aid agreement from Big State U, but is told the letter is not valid. Can this be true?
Answer: Yes. Once an NLI and accompanying financial-aid agreement are issued to a prospective student-athlete, he or she must sign within 14 days for the NLI to be considered valid.
6After signing a full recruiting class in February, State Technical College has a chance to sign a five-star recruit, but the school doesn’t have any scholarships available. The staff tells an incoming freshman who has already signed an NLI that they have changed their minds, and rescind his scholarship offer. Can they do that?
Answer: Not without the player’s consent. An NLI is a binding agreement that lasts for a full academic year. Conversely, if a player who has signed wants to be released from his agreement before arriving on campus, he must receive permission from the school and can be penalized for breaking his commitment.
By Christian Caple