College Basketball
Athletes who sign NLI won't face penalty under certain circumstances
College Basketball

Athletes who sign NLI won't face penalty under certain circumstances

Published Jun. 27, 2023 5:44 p.m. ET

The governing body for the National Letter of Intent Program on Tuesday announced new policies allowing athletes to back out of NLI agreements without penalty under certain circumstances.

The signing of letters of intent has been part of the recruiting process in NCAA divisions I and II since 1964. It is intended to be a binding agreement between an athlete and school. The athlete promises to attend the school for one academic year in exchange for a full or partial athletic scholarship for one academic year.

An athlete who does not fulfill his or her NLI agreement traditionally must sit out one season of competition at the next school they attend.

Following a committee review of NLI policity, the Collegiate Commissioners Association will not penalize an athlete who requests a release due to a head coaching change. Neither will an athlete be penalized for leaving their original school after one quarter or one semester as long as a release is requested.

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The policy change takes effect with the 2023-24 signing periods for 2024-25 enrollees.

The CCA also will expand the program to provide an athlete transferring from one four-year school to another an opportunity to sign an NLI as long as he or she has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Big Sky Conference Commissioner Tom Wistrcill, chair of the NLI Policy and Review Committee, said the changes are meant to modernize the NLI program so it more accurately reflects the recruiting landscape.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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