Today is National Signing Day in College Football. UConn is once again hosting a reception at Rentschler Field to announce the newest Huskies. But the event brings up a question that was recently covered on Connecticut Sports Law (Jagodzinski Controversy Overshadowed Plight of Recruits): why would recruits sign a National Letter of Intent?
The latest to weigh in on this debate is Marc Isenberg on SportsAgentBlog.com. Isenberg writes that:
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is an agreement that heavily favors athletic departments over recruits. Many lawyers believe the NLI is what can legally be defined as a “contract of adhesion,” which is “a standard-form contract prepared by one party, to be signed by the party in a weaker position…who adheres to the contract with little choice about the terms.” Technically, the NLI is a voluntary program, but unless an athlete is a superstar, he or she does not have market power to dictate terms of enrollment. Sign on the dotted line or risk losing the scholarship offer…
Click here to read Isenberg’s article in its entirety, which does more than critique the system and the disproportionate power weilded by colleges and universities. Isenberg explains the NLI and offers suggestions to improve the system and level the playing field for student-athletes. Isenberg also suggests that student-athletes should have an attorney review a letter of intent before signing it.
This article is a must read for student-athletes who may find themselves signing on the dotted line for an athletic scholarship.