Recruits, if you have a picture of yourself signing your National Letter of Intent, email it to [email protected], and you could be featured on the site!
Wednesday, November 9th, begins the so-called “early signing” period for NCAA swimming that will run through November 16th, 2011. This is the first opportunity for high school seniors to officially change their commitments from “verbal” to in-writing.
A National Letter of Intent is effectively an agreement by an athlete to attend a certain institution for a full academic year, and in exchange the agreement by the institution to provide athletics financial aid. Once an athlete has signed their NLI, it becomes against the rules for other institutions to try and recruit them, so the incidence of athletes changing their commitments plummet. The only way out of a NLI is if the institution grants a release or if a committee agrees that there are extenuating circumstances.
Otherwise, an athlete will have to fulfill the rules about a year in residency at the new institution before they can begin athletic participation.
After a recruit signs their NLI, the coaching staff can then begin publicly commenting on them and publicizing their classes.
If athletes do not sign this week, then they must wait again until April 11th to sign. For many students, this puts a lot of pressure on signing in the early period, because it gives them some secruity. Waiting until April to make a decision can leave for few options and some scrambling to even get accepted to many schools, let alone find financial offers. For this reason, you will see most of the top American athletes put their names on the dotted line in the early period, with the latter more likely to see a slew of international signings. International athletes often take a bit longer to compile files, take their SAT’s, and register with the NCAA.