How to Sign a National Letter of Intent

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The pinnacle of a high school athlete's career is signing a National Letter of Intent, which means you have earned a scholarship to play college sports. While signing the actual letter takes little effort, making sure your letter means something requires completing several steps with the NCAA. To learn how to sign a National Letter of Intent properly, follow these steps.

  • Know your signing date. Signing days vary per sport. The most famous signing day is National Signing Day, which celebrates not only college football, but also soccer, field hockey and water polo. National Signing Day is held on the first Wednesday of February. Basketball signing day usually occurs in mid-April.

  • Tell your high school coach about your commitment. Most high schools will have a ceremony on National Signing Day. This usually includes your family, school officials and the media.

  • Contact the coaches at your prospective college and make sure they know where to fax your letter of intent. It will be faxed to you at school or in another predetermined location on signing day, so it's important to give coaches the correct fax number.

  • On your designated signing day, you will ink your signature to the National Letter of Intent. This is a binding contract between you and the school and guarantees your scholarship. Media and family members will usually take pictures of your signing.

  • Fax the letter back to your new college. Call the coaches to make sure they received it. More than likely they will call you to congratulate you on becoming a new member of their program.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before signing a letter of intent, you are not committed to attend a college, even if you have expressed interest and have been offered a scholarship. You can change your mind at any point before signing.
  • A National Letter of Intent is a binding contract between you and the school. You cannot switch schools without penalty after the document is signed and faxed back to the school.

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