This reference guide is intended to be a resource. Additional NLI regulations and procedures are located at www.national-letter.org.
What is the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.
- Prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
- Institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
Basic Penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: Serve one year in residence at the next NLI member institution and lose on season of competition in all sports.
- Must be accompanied by an athletics financial aid agreement
- May not be signed prior to the signing dates for the applicable sport
- Must include a parents or legal guardian signature if the prospective student-athlete is under the age of 21, regardless of marital status
- The Conference Office validates the NLI to ensure the NLI and athletics aid agreement are complete and meet all NLI and NCAA requirements
How is an NLI declared Null and Void?
- Prospect is denied admission to institution
- Does not meet NCAA, institutional or conference eligibility requirements
- One-Year Absence
- Signee does not enroll for at least one academic year and the scholarship is no longer available. Also applies to a signee who serves in the U.S. Armed Forces or Church Missions for one year. NLI remains binding if the scholarship is available.
- Discontinued Sport
- Sport is no longer offered, includes student-athlete who are already enrolled
- Recruiting Rules Violation
- NLI may be declared null and void if the violation is substantiated and prompts the need for reinstatement by the NCAA staff. It is the prospective student-athlete’s choice to null and void the NLI under these circumstances.
A prospective student-athlete signs an NLI with an institution, not with a coach. If the coach leaves, the prospect is still bound by the provisions of the NLI.
What is the Recruiting Ban?
Other institutions must respect the prospective student-athlete’s NLI signing by ceasing all recruitment. The recruiting ban remains in effect until the prospective student-athlete enrolls at the signing institution. Once enrolled, the student-athlete is governed by NCAA recruiting regulations. If the prospective student-athlete does not enroll at the signing institution, the recruiting ban will be lifted after the institution’s academic year has elapsed (e.g., if the prospective student-athlete sings during 2013-2014, the recruiting ban applies through the end of the 2014-2015 academic year).
How can a signee be released from the NLI?
- A request for release must be initiated by the NLI signee by submitting the NLI Release Request online
- An institution may release a signee from his or her NLI obligation at its discretion
- For consideration of an appeal, the signee must present extenuating circumstances to the NLI Committee
- Completing a playing season does not fulfill the NLI obligation (must complete entire academic year)
- 4-4 transfers are not considered prospects and may not sign an NLI (athletics aid agreement only)
- If an NLI is declared null and void or a complete release is granted, a prospective student-athlete is not permitted to sign another NLI until the next signing year
- If an NLI is declared invalid, a prospective student-athlete is permitted to sign another NLI during the same signing year
- If a prospective student-athlete sign an NLI for enrollment in the upcoming academic year and does not enroll, the NLI remains binding
NLI Office Contact Information