What is a National Letter of Intent (NLI)?

Signing your National Letter of Intent (NLI) is one of the final steps in your college recruiting journey. It’s a huge celebration worth having, as you and your loved ones have put countless hours into this process.

If you’re still working toward signing your NLI, you probably have a few questions about how it works and when it happens. (Yes, there is a National Letter of Intent signing period!)

Junior Golf Hub is always there to answer your most urgent questions around the college golf recruiting process, culminating with the signing of your NLI, which also locks in any applicable golf scholarship funds.

What is the National Letter of Intent (NLI)?

The National Letter of Intent is a voluntary yet binding agreement you can sign to secure your spot and golf scholarship at a four-year institution. While the golf scholarship and financial aid amounts can change each year, you only need to sign the NLI once.

If you are planning to play two varsity sports at your college, you still only need to sign one NLI as you are committing yourself to the institution, not the coach(es).

Do all colleges offer the National Letter of Intent?

NCAA Division 1 and Division 2 schools offer the National Letter of Intent since both divisions can provide golf scholarships. NCAA Division 3 schools do not offer golf scholarships and, therefore, do not offer the NLI.

NAIA schools and junior colleges also offer the letters of intent, though they have separate procedures unaffiliated with the NCAA.

Is there a National Letter of Intent Signing Day?

Signing the National Letter of Intent in the NCAA for golfers heading to Division 1 and Division 2 schools takes place early November through August 1st leading up to college enrollment, typically during your senior year of high school or shortly after graduation. 

Some high schools host a National Letter of Intent day where all their athletes sign their NLIs on the same day, sometimes inviting the press to capture the moment. However, there is no official national signing day.

Does the NAIA have a signing day?

The NAIA Letter of Intent is a non-binding agreement that can be signed at any time. There is no formal NLI program, so there is no required time frame for signing it.

What does a National Letter of Intent look like?

The National Letter of Intent for college is a one-page document where you fill in your basic information, your NCAA ID and the institution you are formally committing to. There will be places for the college’s athletic department to fill out as well as a statement making this a binding agreement. 

Both you, the college-bound athlete, and a parent or legal guardian must sign the National Letter of Intent for it to be validated. If a parent or legal guardian is unavailable, you can contact your institution and work with them to approve another adult to co-sign.

You must apply for your NCAA eligibility before signing the NLI but can still sign if you’re waiting for your confirmation. However, if you are denied certification, the NLI will be voided. Avoid all this stress and register at the NCAA Eligibility Center at the start of your college golf recruiting process.

There are plenty of hurdles to jump as you make your way to your college golf team, and Junior Golf Hub is here every step of the way. Signing the NLI and confirming your spot on the team and your golf scholarship – sometimes years after starting this process – results in a huge sigh of relief that is very well deserved.

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