National Signing Day is upon us again in college football. For student-athletes signing their National Letter of Intent (NLI), the day is full of excitement. However, the NLI is undoubtedly a one-sided agreement, drafted by the colleges, for the colleges.
When student-athletes got wise, and began negotiating escape clauses in the NLI (such as for when the head coach leaves the school), the colleges added a provision that prevented the negotiation of any additional terms. This type of take-it or leave-it contract is called a contract of adhesion and may be found unenforceable in a court of law. Nevertheless, the practical advice for most student-athletes is to carefully read and analyze the NLI, and once he or she understands its terms, to sign it.
Despite the excitement that accompanies National Signing Day, student-athletes should be aware that they are entering into a binding contract, and they must be aware of the terms of the contract.
I’ve written about a number of issues relating to the NLI over the years: