Understanding how this works
There are two types of commitments the athlete will make to the school. First is the verbal commitment. This is when the coach offers the athlete a spot in their program. It may or may not include an athletic scholarship depending on the division of the school or where the coach sees you as a player. It’s important to know that while a verbal commitment is not a binding contract, it is viewed as a moral commitment. However it should be noted schools have been known to pull their offers before signing day and players have chooses other schools without ramification.
Coaches ask athletes to commit early, even though it isn’t set in stone, because it helps give them an idea of what recruits they have coming in and what positions they must still go after. Coaches know that a certain percentage of athletes will not hold their end of the bargain.
The other form of commitment is the signing of a National Letter of Intent. In regards to athletes who plan to play in the NCAA, this occurs between the 1st Wednesday of February and the 1st of August each year. This is a binding contract as it commits the athlete to attend the school they sign with for one full academic year in exchange for receiving an athletic scholarship. If an athlete withdraws from school before completing one academic year, they might incur penalties upon transfer to another school, unless the school they signed with releases them. It should be noted NAIA Schools utilize their own form of a National Letter of Intent that is not as restrictive by dates as the NCAA version is.
A few technicalities to be aware of, the National Letter of Intent must be accompanied by a financial aid agreement from the school the athlete will sign with. If both documents are not signed, the National Letter of Intent will not be valid. Also, when signing it’s always a good thing to verify that the document reflects the same amount that was originally offered.
Athletes must be notified by July 1st each year whether their athletic scholarship will be renewed for the same amount, increased, decreased, or cancelled for the upcoming academic year. If an athlete’s scholarship is reduced or cancelled, the athlete must be notified by the school that a hearing opportunity is available to them.
Letter of Intent