While high school athletes are not required to sign a National Letter of Intent, or NLI, there are several reasons to do so. By signing an NLI, a high school athlete is committing themselves to a college program for at least a year in exchange for financial aid. Once an athlete signs an NLI, the recruiting process is essentially over. They have secured a roster position with a school and no longer speak with coaches from other programs (coaches are not allowed to contact a signed athlete).
High school athletes who are enrolling in four-year colleges and universities sign NLIs as a part of the recruiting process. When a college coach offers an NLI to you, they are looking for you to commit yourself to their program and attend their school as a student-athlete on an athletic scholarship. If you are offered scholarships from multiple schools, it will be important to take some time and discuss which college will be the best fit for you. The college you decide to attend is a huge decision and will have an impact on the rest of your life. Remember: it’s not just about playing your sport- you are there to earn a degree and establish a possible career path.