An athlete is able to sign an NLI any time after the initial signing date. Each sport has a different signing date and it’s not required for student-athletes to sign it on the first day of the signing period.
Student-athletes have 14 days from when the NLI is issued to sign the NLI and have it remain valid. If the NLI is issued before the signing date, then the student-athlete has until the signing date to sign their NLI. But many student-athletes choose to sign the NLI as soon as they can, so they can end their recruiting process.
Once a student-athlete signs the NLI for a school, they are no longer able to be recruited by other coaches. Signing the NLI brings on a sense of relief that the student-athlete has finally made their decision on where to go to school.
Student-athletes are also able to sign their NLI before they have received their final certification from the Eligibility Center. When they sign the NLI, they agree to submit all necessary documents and information to the Eligibility Center as needed to be cleared. If the student-athlete is not cleared by the Eligibility Center after signing their NLI, the NLI becomes null and void.