Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on college swimming and the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection (ACC). ACC is a SwimSwam Partner.
The regular signing period is right around the corner (begins April 15 and goes through August 1). Swimmers and especially parents use the term “signing” very loosely. “Signing” refers to the National Letter of Intent which is the swimmer’s binding commitment to attend a school in exchange for an “Athletic Grant in Aid”.
A NLI is only issued if some form of athletic scholarship is provided. D-I and D-II schools are the only ones who provide an NLI.
NAIA schools have their own version.
Here are some questions we have all of our swimmers ask before they put their “John Hancock” on the National Letter of Intent.
Before you sign ask the following questions:
What is the school’s policy on 5th year aid? It may take 5 years to complete the degree, but the swimming scholarship only goes for 4 years. Schools are allowed to pay for the 5th year, but I suggest asking up front.
If there is not a full scholarship offered, ask about what it would take to get a scholarship increase after the first year.
Will the school pay for health insurance?
Where does the team go for Christmas training and who pays? This is not negotiable, but it could be an expense. A school is not allowed to pay for expenses for one swimmer and not the rest of the team.
If you were not offered an athletic scholarship you can still have an official signing at your school. We suggest that you sign your housing documents or some schools will offer a letter of commitment that recruits can sign.
Congratulations, you are about to embark on 4 of the most exciting years of your life as a college swimmer. Nothing else in life compares to being part of a college athletic team.
Finding out if you have what it takes to compete in swimming at the college level is easy, and many swimmers do have the potential considering all of the options. Go to www.ACCrecruits and submit a Free Profile.