The official description of the National Letter of Intent
The NCAA manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 657 Division I and Division II participating institutions.The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the NLI and no institution is required to join the program.The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.
- A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
- The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
The penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution.
When Can you Sign a NLI?
The rules have changed for DI and DII soccer. There is now a signing Period, not just one date for you to sign.
Initial Signing Date: November 13, 2019
Final Signing Date: August 20, 2020
What does this mean for you?
You are able to verbally commit to a school at anypoint, but it is not 100% official until you sign your National Level of Intent, and you can't sign that until your Senior Year.
Can a Club Guarantee a Scholarship?
There are soccer clubs that will promise players anything just to get them to leave their current club, including guaranteeing scholarships. Can they do that? Technically yes, but it is unethical. No one can guarantee a scholarship until your National Letter of Intent is signed. If a club coach guarantees you a scholarship, I would be very cautious about the ethics of the club.