NLI offer different than the verbal offer

Son just received his NLI from a Power-5 school. To our surprise, the scholarship is lower from sophomore through senior year. Only the freshman year the % is the same as the verbal offer. Son asked his college coach, he said it's just the placeholder and we will get the same amount the next few years. Son also asked the other recruit in his class, it's the same deal. Tomorrow is the NLI signing date, should we sign it? Is it normal?

 

 

 

 

Original Post

If it's just a placeholder, then why wouldn't it hold the same amount?

It will be what you sign.  If it is xx% less in year 2 and another xx% less in year 3, that's what your son will get.

I wouldn't believe for a moment what he's saying.  My son's specified the same amount each year, so I know that his "placeholder" is the same.

Up to you whether you sign, but know that whatever you sign is the only amount you'll have any leverage to receive.  While the coach MAY give more than is specified, he certainly can't be held to anything other than what you agree to on the LOI.

TAO, my response may be too late if your son has already signed his NLI, but I don't agree with the coach telling you that it's "just a placeholder."  It is possible that they could bump the scholarship up in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year to equal the first year, but if your son is signing a four-year scholarship agreement, that's unlikely to happen.  

Happened to a friend of ours.  They were told one thing as a sophomore in HS (one of first recruits for that P5 team).  Takes his name out of recruiting. 

When time to sign comes, the NLI's 1st year is at the agreed %, the remaining years were SIGNIFICANTLY lower and they were told the same thing, that "it will be adjusted, this is how we have to do it for the NCAA". 

They signed............didn't play much the 1st year, bill in mail for sophomore year came with the NLI %.  Parents not happy, kid not happy. Paid money for fall semester.  Fall meeting..........."you're not going to play much, so it might be better".

Needless to say mominfortworth has deleted this coach from rising 2022's list of schools.

 

Interesting topic - not something we had to deal with as scholarships were just year-to-year when our sons went through.  Still, we had the conversation with the coach about subsequent years and in the end had to just trust them...or not?  (We did and it worked out).

It seems to me, without the benefit of this experience with written vs. "promised" word, it will just boil down to trusting (or not) the coach's word.  At this late date, it puts the player/parent in a difficult situation.  I would've expected this to be explained to him at the time of his commitment, not now.

Whether or not a kid has a four year scholarship if he hears “we don’t see you in our plans next year” he’s most likely going to leave. If the family can’t afford the school with what’s offered on paper it’s probably wise to pass. Doing well in class and on the field is challenging enough without constantly worrying about next year and following years. 

On the flip side, making another choice at this late date probably means a JuCo. He can take the offer and leave for a JuCo after freashman year if the coach isn’t true to his word. 

As others seem to be suggesting this situation is a red flag.

So, we've got a lot of intellectual horsepower on this thread....myself not included....my son did not have to sign an NLI so I have not experienced it.  I agree with JustBaseball that this should have been explained at the time of commitment.

Given the situation, what are TAO's sons options?  Based on what has discussed so far, it doesn't seem like there are many.

 

Sounds like you are signing the equivalent of an adjustable rate mortgage (but opposite). If it doesn’t commit the school to what was promised, why should you commit? Probably hard to make a decision in the opposite direction now, emotions are involved by player and families. Poor form on the part of the school, and the fact they dropped that on you at the last second should tell you they aren’t operating in good faith.

Wow, tough situation....especially when you only found out yesterday. We didn't have that issue, so not sure how we'd have handled it.....as others have said, it's a little  strange that it wasn't conveyed to you earlier and the coach's explanation seems a little bit off if you ask me

As I mentioned before, scholarships are renewable year to year. The NLI doesn't extended itself past the first year. There should be no verbage in the NLI regarding sophmore-senior year as far as I know. I am not familiar with 4 year guaranteed scholarships, which are handed out pretty sparingly. 

All the NLI does is guarantee a "place" for you on the roster next year.  The rest is up to your son to give the reason for the coach not to let you go.

 

 

 

TPM posted:

As I mentioned before, scholarships are renewable year to year. The NLI doesn't extended itself past the first year. There should be no verbage in the NLI regarding sophmore-senior year as far as I know. I am not familiar with 4 year guaranteed scholarships, which are handed out pretty sparingly. 

All the NLI does is guarantee a "place" for you on the roster next year.  The rest is up to your son to give the reason for the coach not to let you go.

 

 

 

I think all Power 5 schools have to offer four-year NLIs. Here's Rick's post on the topic from a couple of years ago: http://informedathlete.com/the...caa-di-scholarships/

2019Dad posted:
TPM posted:

As I mentioned before, scholarships are renewable year to year. The NLI doesn't extended itself past the first year. There should be no verbage in the NLI regarding sophmore-senior year as far as I know. I am not familiar with 4 year guaranteed scholarships, which are handed out pretty sparingly. 

All the NLI does is guarantee a "place" for you on the roster next year.  The rest is up to your son to give the reason for the coach not to let you go.

 

 

 

I think all Power 5 schools have to offer four-year NLIs. Here's Rick's post on the topic from a couple of years ago: http://informedathlete.com/the...caa-di-scholarships/

Wasn't sure on that as a guarantee for power 5, but if that is the case, someone either misunderstood or  was misled and figured out how to get around the requirement.

I think he has no choice but to go ahead and sign and let the chips fall. Good post for folks to understand how important it is to ask questions after committing.

FWIW. We were part of the first year of 4 year guaranteed scholarships. Sounds really good until it's not. Coaches are still going to bring in your replacement if they can. Some coaches I'm sure don't like the fact that they have to offer 4 year deals. This is their way around it. Even if it is spelled out as was at commitment, if they want you out, they will find a way. Kids want to play baseball, not sit on the bench. Once the shine wears off, reality sits in and what's on the NLI & the financial agreement don't mean much if you're not playing.

Sign it with eyes open. Work hard & be ready to compete. Nothing is guaranteed. 

TPM posted:

As I mentioned before, scholarships are renewable year to year. The NLI doesn't extended itself past the first year. There should be no verbage in the NLI regarding sophmore-senior year as far as I know. I am not familiar with 4 year guaranteed scholarships, which are handed out pretty sparingly. 

All the NLI does is guarantee a "place" for you on the roster next year.  The rest is up to your son to give the reason for the coach not to let you go.

 

 

 

In our case, there were two parts of agreement. The NLI was accompanied by a financial agreement. The FA lays out the %/$ amount that states each for year 1,2,3 & 4. 

Picked Off posted:
TPM posted:

As I mentioned before, scholarships are renewable year to year. The NLI doesn't extended itself past the first year. There should be no verbage in the NLI regarding sophmore-senior year as far as I know. I am not familiar with 4 year guaranteed scholarships, which are handed out pretty sparingly. 

All the NLI does is guarantee a "place" for you on the roster next year.  The rest is up to your son to give the reason for the coach not to let you go.

 

 

 

In our case, there were two parts of agreement. The NLI was accompanied by a financial agreement. The FA lays out the %/$ amount that states each for year 1,2,3 & 4. 

That would make sense because the NLI is an NCAA requirement for all conferences, divisions, the financials aren't, only within conference.

Looks like I need to make a couple of comments about that article from our website that 2019DAD included the link for, (and will need to update the article). 

First of all, I hope folks understand that the article was intended as an overview of the new scholarship rules as they were understood at that time, but was not meant to address the many different situations of how scholarship offers are written when it comes to equivalency sports like baseball, softball, track, wrestling, etc.  

If a recruit to a Power 5 school signs just a one-year scholarship as a freshman for 50% (for example), that Power 5 school CANNOT reduce that scholarship in future years for any athletic reason (such as non-performance, didn't improve as the coaches expected) or for a medical reason.  They would have to use one of the other reasons that were noted in the article, because they did not indicate at the outset in a multi-year agreement that following years would be at a lower amount.   

However, if a recruit signs a multi-year scholarship and the years are for different amounts, then things become more complicated.  Here's two examples:

If a multi-year scholarship is written as 50% PER YEAR for five years, then the scholarship can't be lowered in future years unless the athlete goes ineligible, violates team rules, or has a misconduct issue that must be handled by the school's student conduct board.  The scholarship could be increased however, but we know that doesn't happen very often.

If a multi-year scholarship is written to indicate that it will provide an AVERAGE of 50% over five years, then adjusting the scholarship from year to year would be permissible.  However, as was mentioned earlier, if the scholarship is reduced and the athlete receives little to no playing time, they are likely to end up transferring (which is probably what the coach is counting on).   

While it may not be realistic, because it would damage the relationship the recruit will have with the coach before he ever arrives on campus, the recruit could choose to sign only the school's athletic scholarship agreement, but not sign the NLI.  

He would then have the option to sign another scholarship agreement with another school if a better offer came along in the spring.  Risky, no doubt, but a possibility to consider. 

Some of the highly publicized basketball recruits have been using that strategy so that they are not committed through the NLI to the school if that coach is fired or leaves for another school before the recruit arrives on campus.  

Thanks all for the replies. I'll ask my son to call the head coach and admission office for more clarification. Not sure if they can alter the NLI  to the same amount as originally offered. It's really a surprise as we were under the impression that the Power-5 schools can't reduce the scholarship.  

tao posted:

Thanks all for the replies. I'll ask my son to call the head coach and admission office for more clarification. Not sure if they can alter the NLI  to the same amount as originally offered. It's really a surprise as we were under the impression that the Power-5 schools can't reduce the scholarship.  

Couple of points.

First, as Picked Off mentioned, there are two components, the NLI and the Financial Agreement.  Most have just been using NLI synonymous for both.

Second, you are correct, once you've signed the financial agreement, the P5 schools can't lower the amount for performance (they can withdraw for non-performance issues such as rules violation, grades, etc).

So for example, if the agreement you sign states:

Year 1 = 80%
Year 2 = 50%
Year 3 = 50%
Year 4 = 30%

Then that's what's you'll receive for each year, no less, maybe more if the coach is willing and it's justified, but at a minimum, that's what the school is obligated to give you.  In this example, the school isn't reducing the scholarship.  What is written is the scholarship and yes, while it is a reduction over years, this isn't considered a reduction because it isn't lower than what is being promised (signed) as the agreement today.  What they can't do is have you sign the example above, and then only provide 30% in year 2.  That would be a reduction in the scholarship.

Some financial agreements do vary by year such as the example above, or increase year over year. 

Some don't vary and have a fixed $ amount or % that doesn't change year over year.  You were under the impression that your son's verbal offer was the same every year and now you're presented something different from that.  The fact that your agreement varies isn't an oversight or placeholder, it is the offer in writing, plain and simple.  Any verbal "promise" that you son will receive anything different than what he signs will likely never materialize.

I agree with everything that NUKE83 said and will add one clarifying point.  His example would also hold true for a  Division I school that is not a Power 5 school if they offered the same official multi-year scholarship. 

The key difference is the period of time for which the scholarship offer is written.  Using NCAA terminology, the "period of the award" is just one year for a one-year scholarship offer, but is 4 or 5 years for a multi-year scholarship offer that's written for that period of time. 

Power 5 schools are not allowed to reduce a scholarship for athletic performance reasons "AFTER the period of the award."  Schools that are not in the Power 5 CAN reduce or not renew a scholarship for athletic reasons "after the period of the award."  However, if they do, they are required to offer the athlete an opportunity to appeal the scholarship reduction or non-renewal.  

 

Rick at Informed Athlete posted:

I agree with everything that NUKE83 said and will add one clarifying point.  His example would also hold true for a  Division I school that is not a Power 5 school if they offered the same official multi-year scholarship. 

The key difference is the period of time for which the scholarship offer is written.  Using NCAA terminology, the "period of the award" is just one year for a one-year scholarship offer, but is 4 or 5 years for a multi-year scholarship offer that's written for that period of time. 

Power 5 schools are not allowed to reduce a scholarship for athletic performance reasons "AFTER the period of the award."  Schools that are not in the Power 5 CAN reduce or not renew a scholarship for athletic reasons "after the period of the award."  However, if they do, they are required to offer the athlete an opportunity to appeal the scholarship reduction or non-renewal.  

 

I was under the impression that the scholarship award on the NLI (other than power 5 conferences) could not include more than a year in verbage as would not be recognized by the NCAA, but understand your explanation.

 

TPM posted:
3and2Fastball posted:

The rules changed a few years back.  NLI's at Power Fives guarantee 4 years now.

I was inquiring about other conferences.

It's talking about football, but it should apply across the board.

https://www.cbssports.com/coll...ships-but-many-dont/

"In 2012, the NCAA barely passed a rule giving schools the option to provide multiyear scholarships. The arrangement was nearly scrapped when 62.12 percent of the 330 schools voting opposed the legislation -- just shy of the 62.5 percent needed to overturn the new rule. Twenty-five schools abstained and 14 changed their votes for the rule to survive."

OK, son called the coach and this is how it works. For example:

1st year: 50%

2nd year: 25%

3rd year: 25%

4th year: 25%

The 1st year son will get the full 50% as originally committed. The 2nd year, say if the coach runs out of money and wants to offer some new recruit, coach might take 10% scholarship from my son and other players to make room for the new recruit. So the 2nd year, son will get 50-10=40%. The 3rd year, coach will return previous year 10% PLUS 5%(like interest?) back to son, so the 3rd year he will get 50+15=65%. 

So overall, it's still 50%. So we are good, and smart move for the coaches to have flexibility for recruiting. I know it's all based on the words, but we got to trust the coaches!

Thanks all for the good comments and PM, the explanation sounds reasonable to me.  Hopefully the HC can still keep the job until son graduates HC got 10-year contract, he is now in his 3rd year.

 

tao posted:

OK, son called the coach and this is how it works. For example:

1st year: 50%

2nd year: 25%

3rd year: 25%

4th year: 25%

The 1st year son will get the full 50% as originally committed. The 2nd year, say if the coach runs out of money and wants to offer some new recruit, coach might take 10% scholarship from my son and other players to make room for the new recruit. So the 2nd year, son will get 50-10=40%. The 3rd year, coach will return previous year 10% PLUS 5%(like interest?) back to son, so the 3rd year he will get 50+15=65%. 

So overall, it's still 50%. So we are good, and smart move for the coaches to have flexibility for recruiting. I know it's all based on the words, but we got to trust the coaches!

Thanks all for the good comments and PM, the explanation sounds reasonable to me.  Hopefully the HC can still keep the job until son graduates HC got 10-year contract, he is now in his 3rd year.

 

Hopefully he is being honest.  Just know that what you sign is the only obligation, and if next year he says "Johnny hasn't really developed like we projected" and he only gives the 25%, that it isn't considered a reduction of scholarship for performance reasons because he's honoring the scholarship.  If he does only give the 25% for any of the following years, he's not obligated in any way to "make it up" in future years and you have absolutely no protection.  Make sure that you financially are good with covering the additional 25% for years 2-4 before your son signs his NLI and is on the hook with NCAA transfer sit out rules.

tao posted:

OK, son called the coach and this is how it works. For example:

1st year: 50%

2nd year: 25%

3rd year: 25%

4th year: 25%

The 1st year son will get the full 50% as originally committed. The 2nd year, say if the coach runs out of money and wants to offer some new recruit, coach might take 10% scholarship from my son and other players to make room for the new recruit. So the 2nd year, son will get 50-10=40%. The 3rd year, coach will return previous year 10% PLUS 5%(like interest?) back to son, so the 3rd year he will get 50+15=65%. 

So overall, it's still 50%. So we are good, and smart move for the coaches to have flexibility for recruiting. I know it's all based on the words, but we got to trust the coaches!

Thanks all for the good comments and PM, the explanation sounds reasonable to me.  Hopefully the HC can still keep the job until son graduates HC got 10-year contract, he is now in his 3rd year.

 

We heard about this from a Big 10 coach as well - that they have flexibility in how they apply the scholarship.  For example, he said with one recruit the recruit/family paid for three years themselves and the 25% scholarship was paid as a full year the recruit's junior year.  In other cases it was the same amount each year.  He said they worked with each family to figure out the best situation.

Midwest Mom posted:
tao posted:

OK, son called the coach and this is how it works. For example:

1st year: 50%

2nd year: 25%

3rd year: 25%

4th year: 25%

The 1st year son will get the full 50% as originally committed. The 2nd year, say if the coach runs out of money and wants to offer some new recruit, coach might take 10% scholarship from my son and other players to make room for the new recruit. So the 2nd year, son will get 50-10=40%. The 3rd year, coach will return previous year 10% PLUS 5%(like interest?) back to son, so the 3rd year he will get 50+15=65%. 

So overall, it's still 50%. So we are good, and smart move for the coaches to have flexibility for recruiting. I know it's all based on the words, but we got to trust the coaches!

Thanks all for the good comments and PM, the explanation sounds reasonable to me.  Hopefully the HC can still keep the job until son graduates HC got 10-year contract, he is now in his 3rd year.

 

We heard about this from a Big 10 coach as well - that they have flexibility in how they apply the scholarship.  For example, he said with one recruit the recruit/family paid for three years themselves and the 25% scholarship was paid as a full year the recruit's junior year.  In other cases it was the same amount each year.  He said they worked with each family to figure out the best situation.

Am I missing something?

If the above is true, that player was a walk on, who could have been released at anytime, and then unable to transfer to another D1. 

They worked with each family for what is best for them (coaches).  The guys who they expected to make a difference, got the better offers.

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