It’s January of 2012 which means recruiting has intensified tenfold for all of the sports in college. What does this mean for you? This means that NOW is the time to get recruited, not sit on your couch and wait for something to happen. Coaches right now are scouring the country looking to lock up their recruiting classes for the fall sports. Winter sport coaches are mid-season with recruiting on their mind and spring sport coaches are recruiting now while preparing for their seasons to start. This is the busiest time of the year for any recruit with any sport offered at the college level!
As a recruit one of the most important aspects of your recruiting that you should be paying attention to are exactly when your sport is allowed to sign a national letter of intent (NLI). Be sure to understand that NLI’s are only used with Division 1 and Division 2 sports. Although some NAIA, Division 3, and Junior College’s use NLI’s they don’t have specific signing periods which means an athlete could sign with a school in one of those three divisions at any point offered. Division 1 and Division 2 have specific dates that are strictly adhered to; if you miss out on a certain sports date it could leave you as a walk-on or in the stands as a fan.
The Early Signing Period for many sports passed back in November of 2011, we are now embarking upon the Regular NLI signing period which kicks off with Football.
Football signings will start February 1st and end April 1st of 2012
The signing period for Field Hockey, Soccer, Track and Field, Cross Country, and Men’s Water Polo also starts on February 1st but will not end until August 1st of 2012.
For Basketball players that didn’t sign during the early signing period in November, you can start signing NLI’s on April 11th and will not be able to sign after May 16th of 2012.
All other sports that were not specifically mentioned have signing dates that run from April 11th until August 1st of 2012.
As you can see, these dates are quite specific and should be paid close attention to. As these signing periods approach, it’s a great clue in to where you are on a coaches recruiting board based on the amount of conversations you are having with that coach. Normally the top recruits on a coach’s board will be hearing from that coach as often as possible to ensure that you the athlete signs with that particular coach. If for some reason that scenario doesn’t describe your situation you might consider asking the coach where exactly you are on that coach’s priority list of recruits. The stronger relationship you have built with that coach the more comfortable that coach will be in telling you the truth about your position.
For most, you should be well aware of your signing date because hopefully you have taken a few unofficial visits, official visits, and likely gave a verbal commitment to the school you are looking forward to spending your next 4-5 years at while being a college athlete. If you do sign, congratulations on working hard, making your dream come true, and getting this far; you are now part of a small percentage of high school athletes every year that are able to say they were NCAA, NAIA, or NJCAA college athletes.