Celebrate National Signing Day, But Beware of NLI

Last night, the UConn football program held its annual National Signing Day event, introducing fans to the newest Huskies.  The event drew a standing room only crowd, thought to be the best turnout to date.  Coach Paul Pasqualoni and his staff were entertaining and enthusiastic.  As always, it was a first-class event.

Here is the list of players that signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) with UConn.

Thanks to UConn’s marketing department and Brian Clark, Assistant Manager of Events for Rentschler Field, my Quinnipiac sports law class was able to attend, and we held class in the press area after the event. 

Following an exciting event, we were left to discuss the legal issues involved in the NLI.  The discussion really highlights the conflict involved in National Signing Day.  Student-athletes are, and should be, excited about reaching this point, where they are on the verge of a college scholarship to play Division I sports.  However, the terms of the NLI are one-sided and favor the schools, not the students.

A quote from a 2001 story by Dan Wetzel summed up the conflict presented by National Signing Day and the NLI:

It’s the rarely spoken secret of the National Letter of Intent, a four-page document that virtually every Division I institution strongly encourages high school prospects to sign.

What is thought to be guaranteed really isn’t. What people believe it represents, it doesn’t. What is meant to be a celebration, should really be a final chance for someone to closely read 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.

For more information on the NLI, see the following posts:

Is the National Letter of Intent Legally Enforceable?

Connecticut Sports Recruiting: National Letter of Intent Basics

The Final Word on the National Letter of Intent

Signing Day Brings National Letter of Intent (NLI) into Focus

National Signing Day: Beware of the National Letter of Intent

Comments

  1. Randy Taylor says:

    Great post. It’s extremely important for student athletes to understand all of the terms of their scholarships, and to ask the right questions in the beginning. NCSA Athletic Recruiting is a network that helps guide student athletes through the recruiting process, and gives them the tools that they need to make the right decision.

Trackbacks

  1. […] on this blog, such as multiyear scholarships, NCAA transfer rules, O’Bannon v. NCAA and the National Letter of Intent.  The compilation of these issues, and many others, in a single article is […]

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