National Letter of Intent

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is an official document administered by the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and used by universities or colleges to establish a prospective student-athlete’s commitment to attend a certain university or college.

The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and a university or college.

  • A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the university or college full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The university or college agrees to provide athletic financial aid for one academic year (two semesters of three quarters).

Once a prospect signs an NLI to attend a university, other institutions are prohibited from recruiting that prospect from that point forward. Otherwise, the non-compliant institution faces various penalties. Even after the prospective student-athlete signs a NLI, that individual remains a prospective student-athlete until one of the following occurs:

  • The individual officially registers and enrolls in a minimum full-time program of studies and attends classes in any term of a four-year collegiate institution’s regular academic year (excluding summer);
  • The individual participates in a regular squad practice or competition at a four-year collegiate institution that occurs before the beginning of any term;
  • The individual officially registers, enrolls and attends classes during the certifying institution’s summer term prior to his or her initial full-time enrollment at the certifying institution; or
  • The individual reports to an institutional orientation session that is open to all incoming students within 14 calendar days prior to the opening day of classes of a regular academic year term.

The basic penalty for a student-athlete not fulfilling the NLI agreement is that the student-athlete will be required to serve one year in residence at the next NLI member institution he or she attends and will also lose one season of competition in all sports.

NLI Signing Dates (Prospective Student-Athletes Signing 2021-2022 and Enrolling 2022-2023)

Sport(s)Initial Signing DateFinal Signing Date
Basketball (Early Period) November 10, 2021 November 17, 2021
Basketball (Regular Period) April 13, 2022 May 18, 2022
All Other Sports November 10, 2021 August 1, 2022

Ten Rules about NLI Signing Period

  1. Recruiting Period: It is a dead period. It is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the institution’s campus, or to permit official or unofficial visits by a prospective student-athlete to VCU’s campus. It is permissible for countable coaches to write or call on the telephone during a dead period.
  2. Eligibility: The prospective student-athlete must be registered with the ncaa eligibility center and have an ncaa id number to receive an NLI.
  3. Time: The prospective student must put their local time on the NLI for it to be valid.
  4. Signing Requirement: An NLI must be signed within 7 days of its issuance date and sent to the A-10 with 14 days after prospective student-athlete signs.
  5. Age: Parents/legal guardian must sign if the prospective student-athlete.
  6. Social Media: The compliance office will send an email to sports information and coaching staff once we know the NLI is valid. This will give sports information the okay to do a press release.
  7. Signing Day Events: Coaches are not allowed to be present at an off-campus signing day event.
  8. Recruiting Ban: Once a prospective student-athlete signs an NLI, other institutions may not recruit him or her.
  9. Agreement: An NLI is a binding agreement that, once signed by a prospective student-athlete, requires the prospective student-athlete to attend the signing institution for one academic year, provided the prospect meets all applicable university, conference, and NCAA rules for the receipt of aid. The NLI must be accompanied by a financial aid agreement, which serves as the institution’s commitment to provide financial aid for a designated period.
  10. NLI Penalty: A prospective student-athlete who does not attend the signing institution or attends for less than one full academic year may not represent a second institution in competition until he or she completes one academic year in residence. The prospective student-athlete also loses a season of competition.