Inside Compliance: It’s Signing Day

On the second Wednesday of every month, a member of the Compliance staff will give a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on around its area and the department. Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming Monday: Communications.

This is an exciting time for prospective student-athletes (PSA) across the country today we will enter the 2014-15 National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing season for many of our PSAs enrolling in 2015-16.  An NLI is a binding agreement in which a PSA agrees to attend an institution full-time for at least one academic year.  Under the NLI framework, the institution agrees to provide athletically-related financial aid for at least one academic year provided the PSA is admitted and eligible for athletic aid per NCAA legislation.  The NLI program is only available to those enrolling at a 4-year college for the first time or 4-2-4 college transfers who have graduated from the most recent 2-year institution; 4-4 transfers are not permitted to participate in the program.

The NLI program has come a long way since its inception in 1964, when it started with seven conferences and eight independent institutions.  Since then, the program has grown to include 635 Division I and II participating institutions.  Just last year, over 42,000 PSAs signed NLIs, 72% of which were signed during the early signing period.

PSAs are not required to sign NLIs; however, NLIs prove advantageous both to PSAs and NLI member institutions.  Once the agreement is signed, PSAs are no longer subject to the telephone call and contact legislation set forth by the NCAA, recruits are assured of an athletic scholarship for a minimum of one year, and an enhanced emphasis is placed on the commitment to an educational institution as opposed to a coach or team.

Additionally, the NCAA has revised legislation that now allows PSAs who have signed NLIs to work at an institution’s camps prior to enrollment and provides the ability to have access to information regarding weight training programs before reaching campus.  NLIs encourage stability from the perspective of member institutions.  Stability is encouraged via NCAA-imposed penalties in the case of student-athletes who leave an NLI-member institution before the completion of one full academic year.

If a student-athlete breaches an NLI agreement by transferring, the student-athlete must serve one year in residence at the school to which they transferred and lose one season of competition in all sports.

The early signing period is set to begin on today and conclude Nov. 19.  This period allows PSAs participating in basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, golf, volleyball, and, for the first time, track & field/cross country to sign an NLI with the institution of their choice.

During last year’s early signing period, Georgia State signed two of our most notable incoming freshman, Jeff Thomas (MBB) and Makeba Ponder (WBB).  Due to the recent growth in popularity of high school sports, we have begun to see the signing of this document as an event open to the general public typically called “Singing Day” or “National Signing Day.”   Please feel free to follow our sports twitter feeds for the latest news concerning our signees.

–Michael Sainte

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