NLI | National College Signing Day

Every year, the first Wednesday of February is a very exciting day for high school Senior Student-Athletes as they participate in National Signing Day. It is a day that is televised, documented, and talked about by many media stations. Young men and women from Football to Soccer to Track to Water Polo are showcased as they take the next step in their athletic career: Accepting an athletic scholarship to play their sport in college.

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Whether you see it on social media or on ESPN, what is that piece of paper the student-athletes are signing?

If you are receiving any form of athletic scholarship from a NCAA Division I or II college, you will be asked to sign a National Letter of Intent (NLI.) If you are not 18 just yet, your parents will have to sign the form for you.

About the National Letter of Intent (NLI) (straight for the source NLI Website)

“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 650 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.

A coach or an institutional representative may not hand deliver this NLI off the institution’s campus or be present off campus at the time I sign the NLI per NCAA rules. This NLI may be delivered by express mail, courier service, regular mail, email or facsimile. An NLI submitted to an institution electronically is permissible.”

Can I still participate in National Signing Day if I make the college team without an Athletic Scholarship? 

Yes, in fact a lot of student-athletes partake in National Signing Day and are not receiving an athletic scholarship. More often than not, college programs run out of money for the amount of athletes they need to field their team. Just because you are not receiving an athletic scholarship does not mean that you cannot ever receive athletic funds during your college career. In fact, it’s the opposite. Every year, athletic scholarships can be negotiated and student-athletes can earn more athletic money based off their performance and goals set with the college coaches.

What if my college does not give Athletic Scholarships?

Colleges that compete in the NCAA Division III do not give athletic scholarships. Most often, colleges will send an agreement confirming your intent to play in their athletic program. This is an opportunity for you to sign on National Signing Day and take pride in participating in the day; however, you will not sign a National Letter of Intent.


We would like to take this time to applaud the young student-athletes who have signed to play Collegiate Athletics. Congratulations!

Check out Champion’s QUEST Alumni

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Brittany GonzalesCoach Brittany Gonzales, Soccer Academy Director 562-598-2600




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