The 1st Wednesday of February.
No, not Groundhog Day, it’s National Signing Day.
College athletes are able to sign a National Letter of Intent to play a sport at a college.
Many of the nation’s best high school athletes have made VERBAL commits, but this is the day to seal the deal in ink.
It seems like there is increased interest in NSD every year.
Back when I was in high school top players signed in the high school library and MAYBE the local newspaper took a snapshot. Beginning at 5AM PST, ESPNU and ESPN2 will dedicate ELEVEN HOURS of live coverage for National Signing Day. This will include 13 live commitments and correspondents reporting live at colleges for reaction and interviews.
Folks, this is major.
As a mom of sports loving sons, we watch together and they learn about how hard work, dedication, and talent can pay off by means of a college scholarship.
Soooo….what exactly happens on National Signing Day?
Aside from universities dusting off their fax machines, Associate Commissioner Greg Sankey, who oversees compliance for the SEC explains:
When student-athletes signing with a certain school on Signing Day, what documents are they actually putting their name on?
Sankey: In the SEC they are actually signing a couple of documents. One is the actual National Letter of Intent (NLI) and the second is an SEC financial aid agreement. The first document, the NLI, sets out the dynamics of their signing, the end of their recruitment and their commitment to a particular institution and a sport. The financial aid agreement will set forth the athletic scholarship they will receive upon enrollment at the institution. Sometimes there is an institutional document as well explaining policies and procedures.
Can you explain just what the NLI is and what it means once the student-athlete signs it?
Sankey: It’s an agreement between a prospective student-athlete and his or her family and the university or college where they are signing. Essentially, the prospective student-athlete is saying that they are going to attend this university (where they sign) and I’m going to participate in the sport listed for a particular period of time. A year has been the norm. That’s the minimal requirement for the National Letter of Intent. The university is saying if you attend this institution and participate in the sport as you have indicated, they we are providing you this amount of athletics aid. Generally in football it is a full athletic scholarship, because it is what is called a “head-count” sport. Then, among the other institutions out there, part of the agreement with the NLI is that is the moment where recruiting ceases.
The importance of Signing Day is that it is the first opportunity to sign, and then when someone signs the other Division I and Division II institutions that participate in the NLI program agree that the recruitment of that prospect will cease.
It’s a very emotional day for many of the athletes who have spent YEARS working towards the day of earning a college scholarship.
Happy signing to all the athletes, their families, coaches, and colleges (especially those heading to LSU).