Signing Day is the peak of the recruiting process for all student athletes, including junior golfers. Your family, coaches, and peers all come out to celebrate the big event that is signing an National Letter of Intent. After the long hours practicing at the range, countless days traveling to tournaments, and so many hours stressing over picking the right golf team for you it all becomes worth it when you officially tell the world that this school, this golf team, will be your home for the next four years.
Early Signing Period for golf falls on November 9-16 this year. Although the general idea of what is going on when you sign your National Letter of Intent on is clear, there are a couple things you should make sure you’re aware of whether you are signing early or waiting until spring.
1. What exactly does it mean to sign an NLI?
Signing an NLI is the end of the recruiting process for college-bound junior golfers. When a junior golfer signs an NLI, they are agreeing to two things:
– They will attend the institution they are signing with for one academic year
– The institution will provide some kind of financial aid (scholarship) for one academic year
The NLI is a binding agreement between the student-athlete and an NLI Learning Institution. The NLI is managed by the NCAA and governed by the Collegiate Commissioners Association. So, to put it simply, if you are a high school senior that signs the NLI you are saying you’re going to attend that school and play golf and they’re going to provide you some kind of scholarship.
Once you have signed the NLI, other schools are banned from recruiting you.
2. Am I allowed to break it?
If you break the NLI to attend another school, there is a punishment. You will have to lose athletic eligibility for one academic year while you’re at the new NLI institution. However, there is a release and appeals process available. You can be released from your NLI by going on the website and submitting a request subject to the decision of the Institution.
There are a couple of responses you can get to your request. If you get a Complete Release, you are permitted to attend any NLI school with no penalty. However, if you receive No Release you will be subject to the normal punishment. Even if you get No Release, they can remove the recruiting ban so you will be able to contact coaches at other schools.
3. Do I have to sign it?
No, student-athletes are not required to sign an NLI. The benefit, though, is the certainty guaranteed for your future. The NLI is binding for the institution, so they will not be able to go back on an offer. Once you have signed your NLI, you know where you’re going to play college golf, how much scholarship you will receive, and can start focusing on preparing on being the best addition your team that you can be.
If you are attending as a walk-on, you will not sign an NLI.
4. Is it better to sign early or wait until spring?
Whether it is better to sign in November or spring will be up to each individual junior golfer. If you choose to sign early, the advantage is that you can go ahead and end the recruiting process and focus on other aspects of finishing your senior year and improving your golf game for college.
Waiting until spring to sign your NLI is not a bad thing either. It gives you more time to visit schools and decide what is going to be the right move for you. There is so much that goes into choosing where you go to school and play college golf. You want to be sure you have picked a good fit and made a decision you are comfortable with and happy about.
There are tons of resources available on the NLI website to help you learn more. Check out the links below for more information.
When signing an NLI, it is important to be informed about everything you are agreeing to and what it means. College golf is a fun thing, and earning a spot on a team is a huge accomplishment! Here’s to a happy signing day for all college-bound golfers in the Class of 2017!