CHAPTER 10 SIGNING DAY
CHRIS KRAUSE High School Edition
C H A P T E R 10
SIGNING DAY After communicating with the admissions office, colleges will offer a student a scholarship only if the athlete is assured acceptance to that school. If a student-athlete receives a scholarship, the athlete will likely be asked to sign a National Letter of Intent on “Signing Day,” a specific date designated by the Collegiate Commissioners Association and the NCAA Eligibility Center. The student-athlete, parents or guardians, and the athletic directors must all sign the NLI certifying that the student intends to enroll during the coming fall academic year. The NLI confirms that a student-athlete is committed to attend a specific college or university for one academic year, and some schools may ask non-scholarship athletes to sign the NLI. By attaching a scholarship offer to the NLI, the college or university commits to provide the studentathlete with athletic financial aid for one academic year, provided that the student is admitted to the institution and eligible for financial aid. Once a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent, other colleges must stop recruiting the student. One of the Collegiate Commissioners Association’s primary goals with the NLI is to reduce and limit the recruiting pressure on a student-athlete.
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A student who signs the letter of intent should also sign the grants-inaid letter that outlines the school’s financial commitment to the student. The NLI binds the student to the school; the grants-in-aid letter binds the school’s commitment to the student-athlete. An NLI can become null and void if the student-athlete fails to graduate or fails to pass required core course requirements to meet the NCAA eligibility requirements. An NLI can also become null and void if a studentathlete gets arrested.
« « Fa s t Fac t s « « Signing Day has two components: 1) the NLI binds the student-athlete to the school and spells out the details of the scholarship and grants-in-aid offered to the student for the upcoming year; and 2) the NLI binds the student-athlete to the school, detailing the terms the student must meet to receive the scholarship offer. Remember that the NLI is for one year only. The student-athlete should find out what he needs to do to be offered the same terms the following year.
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Sample Letter of Intent and Scholarship Offer
At h l e t i c L e t t e r o f I n t e n t / S c h o l a r s h i p Off e r The following terms and conditions define an offer of an athletic scholarship for participation in the sport of baseball by Smith University and the acceptance of that scholarship by Todd Forte for the 2008-09 academic year. I. AMOUNT OF OFFER: This offer is a scholarship in the amount of $ 8,736.00 which is equivalent to 70% of the tuition cost for the 2008-09 academic year only; $ 4,368.00 will be applied to the Fall 2008 semester and $ 4,368.00 will be applied to the Spring 2009 semester. II. QUALIFICATION FOR ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP 1. The student-athlete must be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics upon enrollment at Smith University according to the Constitution and By-Laws of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Signing of this letter indicates intent only and does not guarantee admission to the College and/or eligibility to participate. If either condition is not met, both parties agree to void the agreement. 2. The student-athlete agrees to follow all rules and regulations established by the college for students as detailed in the Student Handbook and shall sign a supplementary agreement as required by the Dean of Enrollment Services. 3. The student-athlete further agrees to follow all rules for participation in the scholarship sport as determined by the head coach. These rules include, but are not limited to: A. The student-athlete will not use drugs, alcohol or tobacco, at any time, while under contract. B.
The student-athlete will not use expletive, offensive or derogatory language at any time.
C. Physical or verbal acts of intimidation or violence by the studentathlete will not be tolerated. D. All team members are required to attend team meetings, functions, practices, games and road tripsâ€”arriving on time for each. Studentathletes are excused from class only to participate in regularly scheduled games. Every effort will be made to schedule practices and team functions so that they do not interfere with class meetings. E. All team members will be expected to participate in team community service projects and to work on team fund-raising events. 4. The student shall obey all federal, state and local laws and ordinances. 5. Participation in a sport other than the scholarship sport is at the discretion of the head coach of the scholarship sport. III. CONTINUANCE AND/OR DISCONTINUANCE OF SCHOLARSHIP 1. The student-athlete shall not have his/her scholarship discontinued prior to the end of the academic year for poor athletic performance. 2. The student-athlete shall not have his/her scholarship discontinued prior to the end of the academic year if the student is prevented from participating in the scholarship sport because of illness, injury or other genuine emergency. 3. The student-athlete may have his/her scholarship discontinued immediately if he/she becomes academically ineligible to participate in athletics or the scholarship sport according to the NAIA. The student should familiarize him/herself with these regulations. 4. The student-athlete may have his/her scholarship discontinued immediately if he/she voluntarily withdraws from the team or is dismissed from the team for just cause. To emphasize: Being removed from the team for lack of playing ability does not constitute just cause.
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5. The student-athlete may have his/her scholarship discontinued immediately if he/she breaks any of the terms of this agreement; is convicted of violating federal, state or local law other than a minor traffic offense; is found to have violated the rules established for the conduct of students at large at Smith University as detailed in the Student Handbook or breaks any of the rules established by the head coach of the scholarship sport. 6. The student-athlete may have his/her scholarship discontinued immediately if he/she is discovered to have fraudulently misrepresented prior academic records or any other information requested during the admissions and/or financial aid process. 7. Discontinuance of the scholarship would mean the student-athlete would immediately be responsible for paying prorated balances which may result. 8. This scholarship is granted for the 2008-09 academic year only. The studentathlete must agree to attend both the Fall and Spring semester regardless of what semester the sport is played. Continuance beyond the Spring 2009 semester is at the discretion of the college and/or head coach. 9. This offer does not guarantee a roster spot on the Smith University baseball team. The student-athlete shall not have his/her scholarship discontinued in the event the student-athlete does not make the final active roster. This document represents an offer regarding only an athletic scholarship between Smith University and the student-athlete. The scholarship must be confirmed by an official award letter from the Financial Aid Office after completion of all documents required by the college. All Smith University Scholarships require a semester and cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0. Studentathletes who fail to maintain these grading standards will have their scholarships terminated at the end of the term in which they fell below the standards. IV. APPEAL OF DISCONTINUANCE 1. Discontinuance of scholarship for cause prior to the end of the 2008-09 academic year may be appealed by the student. A committee consisting of the Faculty
Athletic Representative, the Director of Athletics, Director of Financial Aid and the Dean of Enrollment Services shall consider the appeal. If any member of this committee is unavailable or disqualifies him/herself from hearing an appeal, the Dean of Enrollment Services shall appoint a replacement to the committee. If the Dean of Enrollment Services is not able to head the appeal, the President of the College shall appoint his/her replacement. V. DECLARATION OF INTENT: By signing below, I agree to attend Smith University during the 2008-09 academic year and to participate on the collegeâ€™s intercollegiate team in the scholarship sport specified on page 1 of this agreement. I have read each of the forgoing conditions and understand each. I agree to abide by the conditions and to represent the college in a positive manner. I understand that if this letter is not signed and returned to the Head Baseball Coach by June 5, 2008 Smith University may elect to withdraw its offer: _______________ 2008 Name
As representatives of Smith University, the undersigned agree to offer the Athletic Scholarship described to the above named student for the 2008-09 academic year under the agreed-upon conditions. _________________________________ Head Coach
_________________________________ Director of Athletics
_________________________________ Dean of Enrollment Services
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Refer to www.athleteswanted.org for the NLI signing date for each sport. Be aware that not all colleges use the National Letter of Intent. Visit www.national-letter.org for a list of participating colleges and universities. EARLY DECISION ENROLLMENT A student-athlete might be asked this question by college coaches: “Do you plan to apply early?” Primarily selective colleges and universities use early admissions programs as a way to help applicants secure an admissions decision ahead of schedule. Early admissions policies vary from school to school, so it is important that students understand the process before marking the “early” box on the application. Some programs offer “Early Decision Enrollment.” As its name suggests, this allows a student-athlete to sign before Signing Day. Early Decision Enrollment is binding, meaning a student must attend the college (with exceptions for certain students who face financial burdens). An athlete should avoid applying Early Decision to a college unless 100 percent sure this is the athlete’s first-choice school. If an athlete is accepted as an Early Decision student, the acceptance will close the doors for other opportunities. At a minimum, a student who accepts an Early Decision lowers future negotiating potential. Early Action Acceptance, on the other hand, is not binding. A student who receives Early Action Acceptance is admitted but not required to attend the university. RECRUITED WALK-ONS On the other hand, if Signing Day comes and goes without a scholarship offer, the student-athlete might be invited to walk on. An athlete who has evaluated all other options and decided to walk on to a team should know where he stands.
First, he should be sure he is a preferred walk-on and not just another random freshman trying out for a team. Preferred walk-ons have been in communication with the coaching staff and generally have been promised a roster spot. Walk-ons should also let the coach know that they will work to earn a scholarship in the future. If an athlete falls into this category, he should ask the coach what he must do to earn a scholarship. He should also find out if he will have access to the academic support systems available for scholarship athletes like tutors, preferential course registration, training tables, housing, and athletic gear. Walking on should be used as a last resort, and some students might choose to attend a less desired school where they are offered some sort of financial aid package instead of attending a preferred school as a walk-on, but others are more interested in attending a specific university and might need to resort to walk-on status.
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Key Points 1.
Many colleges have an official Signing Day, which is also called National Letter of Intent (NLI) Day. On this day, which differs based on sport, the student-athlete, his parents or guardian, and the athletic director must sign a letter certifying that the student intends to enroll during the coming fall academic year. The NLI ties the student-athlete to the college program.
Nothing is official until the student-athlete signs the NLI, which is a legal, binding agreement.
Once a student signs an NLI, other colleges must stop recruiting him.
The student-athlete should sign the grants-in-aid letter that outlines the schoolâ€™s financial commitment to the student. The NLI binds the student to the school; the grants-in-aid letter binds the school and its financial commitment to the student-athlete.
Some students can apply for â€œEarly Decision Enrollment,â€? which allows them to sign on the dotted line before the official Signing Day. Be aware that Early Decision Enrollment closes the door to other opportunities, so students should agree to this only if they are 100 percent sure that they are attending their top-choice school.
Refer to www.athleteswanted.org for the NLI signing dates for each sport. Be aware that not all colleges use the National Letter of Intent. Visit www.national-letter.org for a list of participating colleges and universities.