The early signing period for many schools begins next week. These events are a wonderful celebration of a student athlete’s hard work and represent years of dedication on behalf of athletes and their families. One of the questions we get from a family or an athletes is, “will I have anything to sign on signing day if I am a recruited walk-on or not getting an athletic scholarship?” Just because you aren’t signing an athletic scholarship agreement, doesn’t mean you should have a celebration on signing day.
Technically You Don’t Have Anything to Sign
If you are not going to be receiving an athletic scholarship (only available at NAIA, NCAA DI and DII schools) then you technically don’t have to sign anything on signing day. There are two documents you sign on sign day: 1) Your national letter of intent (NLI) and 2) your financial aid agreement. Non-scholarship athletes do not need to sign an NLI, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have something there to celebrate their achievement.
Talk to Your Future Coach about Having Something for Signing Day
Ask any college coach and they will tell you a recruited walk-on or non-scholarship athlete is just as important to the running of a healthy program as anyone else. If your school is throwing a signing day celebration, your future college coach wants you involved and is usually more than willing to send over some documents for the athlete to sign on signing day. The best option if you are looking to have something to sign and wear on signing day is to talk to your future coach.
What if I Don’t Know Where I Will be Playing on Signing Day
Signing day gets all of the hype, because it is the first day athletes can sign the official paper work for their athletic scholarships. For many athletes, they might not yet know what school they will be attending on signing day, so what can they do on signing day? In this situation, there really isn’t anything you can do, you don’t yet have a school you are committed to. There are two common scenarios that lead a recruit to be in this position:
- It is the early signing period or not their signing day – Depending on the sport you play, your signing day might be different than “national signing day.” Make sure you know when you can/will be allowed to commit.
- You are still negotiating your scholarship deal – Unless you are one of the top recruits for a program, you are probably in the situation where you aren’t sure what/if you will be getting a scholarship until other athletes begin to sign.
Signing Day is a Celebration
Not every athlete is going to have the documents to sign and hats to choose from on signing day. For the majority of athletes (who aren’t on scholarships) signing day represents the end of a long and successful recruiting process. Athletes who might not be signing their scholarship should feel equally proud sitting next to their peers on signing day.
Do you have questions about signing day? Leave them in the comments below to create a free recruiting profile so our scouting team can contact you.