Letters of Intent and Student Commitments
How do NAIA schools obtain commitments?
Prospective students can make written or verbal commitments to attend and participate in athletics at an NAIA member institution. An institution is free to develop and implement its own process for obtaining commitments from a prospective student. These methods can include, but are not limited to, formal financial aid agreements, signed estimated offers of financial aid and athletic letters of intent. NAIA eligibility rules do not require prospective students to make any type of commitment prior to participating in an NAIA recognized sport.
When can a student commit to a school or sign a letter of intent?
Prospective students can make a commitment to an NAIA school at any time. The NAIA does not have arbitrary signing dates or time limitations on when a prospective student may commit to a school. While most signings occur in a prospective student's senior year in high school, the NAIA does not prevent verbal or written agreements from happening earlier in a student's high school career. Essentially a prospective student may reach an agreement with a school any time the student (and family) is comfortable with making such a commitment.
What can an institution include on its letter of intent?
The NAIA does not dictate what information must appear on a formal letter of intent. Institutions have the autonomy to develop forms unique to the institution and its academic and athletic philosophy. However, schools are prohibited from including in an agreement language that violates the NAIA Coaches Code of Conduct or the NAIA Code of Ethics. This prohibition includes deceitful promises, deceptive language or false statements about ramifications of a student's commitment.
Does a signed student have to sit out if the student goes to a different school?
Letters of intent in the NAIA are agreements between a prospective student and the school. NAIA rules do not impose any penalties or suspension on a prospective student that breaks an agreement with a school to attend a different institution. Therefore, if a prospective student signed with one institution but did not compete, the student may participate immediately should the student choose to attend a different institution.
How do signed letters of intent from non-NAIA schools apply?
The NAIA does not recognize letters of intent signed with non-NAIA schools or other athletic associations. A student who signs a letter of intent with a non-NAIA school will not face any penalties or suspension should the student choose to attend an NAIA institution instead.
Can a signed student talk to other schools?
Prospective students may communicate with an NAIA school even after signing a letter of intent with another institution. NAIA rules do not prohibit prospective or continuing students from contacting other institutions. However, an NAIA school, when contacted by a student enrolled at another institution, must provide written notification to the student's current school within 10 days of the initial correspondence.
How does a conference letter of intent apply?
NAIA affiliated conferences may choose to establish a conference letter of intent recognition program. A student signing a conference-sanctioned letter of intent with one institution could be withheld from competition for a period of time prior to participating at a different conference member school. Institutions should advise prospective students about the applicability of any conference letter of intent regulations.