What is the National Letter of Intent?

Feb 01, 2012; Denton, TX, USA; Denton Ryan senior Mario Edwards looks over his letter of intent before making his decision to attend Florida State University at a press conference at Denton Ryan High School. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day is finally upon us and there are questions that those new to the recruiting world need answered. On Signing Day, prospective student-athletes make their commitments to the university of their choice to pursue their secondary education and dream of playing college football.

Throughout the day, the players will be signing their National Letters of Intent and putting an end to the recruiting process. When the players put the ink to paper, what exactly does the contract that they are signing mean?

[RELATED: National Signing Day schedule of announcements]

Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Executive of the Southeastern Conference, Greg Sankey, explained the significance and meaning of the National Letter of Intent for those who are new to the process:

It’s an agreement between a prospective student-athlete and his or her family and the university or college where they are signing. Essentially, the prospective student-athlete is saying that they are going to attend this university (where they sign) and I’m going to participate in the sport listed for a particular period of time. A year has been the norm. That’s the minimal requirement for the National Letter of Intent. The university is saying if you attend this institution and participate in the sport as you have indicated, they we are providing you this amount of athletics aid. Generally in football it is a full athletic scholarship, because it is what is called a “head-count” sport. Then, among the other institutions out there, part of the agreement with the NLI is that is the moment where recruiting ceases.

The importance of Signing Day is that it is the first opportunity to sign, and then when someone signs the other Division I and Division II institutions that participate in the NLI program agree that the recruitment of that prospect will cease.

National Signing Day is the first time under NCAA rules that potential student-athletes are able to enroll in their four-year college. Once all of the necessary paper work is completed, the players will need to meet the university’s eligibility standards. Once all of that is complete, the student-athletes can get ready to play some ball.

Stay tuned to FanSided.com for the latest college football recruiting news and be sure to visit us on National Signing Day for up to date signing announcements on the nation’s top recruits.

Topics: College Football, College Recruiting, Football, National Signing Day

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