D1 Coach Pulling Our Son's NLI

My son committed to a school and signed his NLI in November.   He considered and turned down other offers and advised MLB scouts that he would not sign...going to college.      Three hours after the draft ended, his college coach calls and says....My juniors didn't get drafted, and you're not going to start next year, and I'm out of money....and basically, we don't want you now.  We know that he can't go to where he's not wanted....but this is just wrong!  Starting over at this point?   He picked himself up and he is out playing scout ball today.

Original Post

I can't imagine the shock and pain right now.  While some may say the coach is being honest, this seems completely wrong.  Frankly, I'd ask you to name the school so others know what type of games they might expect from this type of coach/program.  I know a school in the SEC that pulled a stunt like this and took quite a PR hit when they were called out for it so perhaps that is your recourse.  I hope you son is able to find a school that actually wants him vs. this type of game playing.  Best of luck with this. 

First off that's not right...


Why not mention the Schools name.   As a warning for others.  That's the only way we can let people know which coaches do not manage their program well. 

But you signed a NLI and so they are responsible for your scholarship for one year, unless you back out or grades fail. (at least to the best of my memory)  That was the reason for the phone call.  They want you to look elsewhere and back out on your own.   You may also want to check out the transfer rules...  (its been 3 years since I had to worry about them) Your son has not attended classes or practices,  but did sign a NLI.  They should not apply but I wouldn't put it past the NCAA to not protect the athlete.  

I do believe that they have to honor the scholarship, they do not have to provide a place for him on the roster. I also beleive that they cannot use the scholarship money that they awarded your son.  I don't advise going somewhere he isn;t wanted, but don't go out without a fight, contact  the AD, what have you got to lose. Contact JUCO coaches asap.  If your son is good there will be plenty of other D1 opportunities.


I agree this is totally wrong, this is a perfect example of poor planning in recruiting.


While I do beleive you, I also think that there are always two sides to every story. I don't advise posting the school here, that is up to you, but you could pm privately those that might be interested.



Your son and mine both in the eastern league.


SDBB is correct, they did what they did so your son would walk away, you might let them know that it's not going to be that easy.  I think that they must by july, award all scholarship money to players, so they are in a bind if they don't have the money.


In many school situations where this occurs the juniors not drafted now seniors usually lose their money, not the incoming players with NLI.

The new draft rules throws a lot of wrenches into College coaches plans.  Used to be high rated Incoming freshman signing and all of a sudden extra scholly $$ and coach looks for someone to fill.   My own son benefitted from this.     The draft changed last year and only the really top players are making a large PAYDAY, and it is fairly well known which ones are signing ahead of time.  Gone is the day of a 18th round pick get a million plus.    I'm not sure how much leverage a college Jr has below the 5th round these days.   I know hardly anyone will get more than 100K after round 10....  So it seems more are opting for their Sr season and College coaches haven't adapted to the new draft just yet.    

TPM what team is your son on..?   My whole focus has been on my younger son recently.  In fact, I have developed a bad superstition, with my oldest.  It seems anytime I listen in to my son's game he K's and if I don't he does well.   For example today I'm just told about his first AB at the beginning and he does a 4-3 ground out.    I immediately turn it off and check 4 hours later and he's 3 for 4 with a HR....  go figure....

Of course this is very upsetting, but let's go through his options.

1) He can insist on attending the school.  They have to provide him with the scholarship unless he and the college mutually agree to dissolve the NLI.  In order to stay within the 11.7 equivalency requirement, the school may have to pull a scholarship from an existing team member, and that needs to be done before June 15.  If he attends the school without releasing the school from the NLI, they will have to include him on the 35 man squad list, but they do not have to allow him to even practice with the team.  


2) He could inquire about attending the school as a walk on, hoping that he will make the team, or even be awarded a scholarship the following year.  However, he needs to consider the possibility that the school have reassessed his potential value as a player since he signed, and the un-drafted juniors are actually a somewhat palatable excuse for wanting to pull the NLI.


In either 1) or 2), if he attends this school, and then decides to transfer to a D1, he will have to sit out a year.  There is a real possibility that he wouldn't be able to compete during the next two years- the first year because the school chooses to not play him, and the second by D1 transfer rule.


3) He can agree to dissolve the NLI, and attend college anywhere else.  Contrary to SDBB's fear, there is no transfer implication, and he would be eligible at any college.


This is a difficult situation.  Even if the un-drafted juniors actually are the issue, the reality is that the coaches chose other incoming and existing players in preference to your son.  Now that they have declared this choice, I think it is unlikely that your son can succeed at this school.  I suppose that you could explore possibility 2) with them, perhaps discovering that they really do want your son, but I'm not sure I would accept their word, and NCAA rules prevent them from promising anything in writing.


This sounds like a bad situation.  TIFWIW, but if baseball is of importance, I would look elsewhere and take it as a lesson learned.  Usually there is nothing to gain by forcing the issue. Yes, you could fight it and you might even cause problems for the coach and program, but in the end that won't help your son. There is probably no way he will be treated fairly in baseball at that school. 


The Big 12 is a top conference, while the school in question might not have lost players to the draft, many other programs did.  My guess is that someone recruited by a Big12 College should be able to find another DI program that wants and needs him.


Unfortunately this will require some quick work, but it might be well worthwhile.  I'm a big believer in fate, sometimes what seems like a catastrophe turns into the most fortunate break.  It's too bad this happened, I feel for you, but it ain't over till its over! Things often work out, no matter how bad it seems.


Spending your time fighting isn't likely to help, spend that time finding a good college.  Use every resource possible. It will be interesting to hear how things turn out.


Best of luck

Thank you all.    I think this will turn out okay.  He played well today and he already has some leads on other options.

Now, we just need a bonfire for those team hats, shirts, license plate cover, sweatshirts, etc,  that we gave him for Christmas.  

D1 coach contacting someone with an NLI...  Until you have a release that's a recruiting violation.   I'd keep this story to yourself until its all said and done. 


I disagree with "2) He could inquire about attending the school as a walk on, "  unless the coach made that suggestion to you already.   If they really wanted your son, that would have been already discussed with the lure of a scholarship as a soph.    


One question: did he get drafted by MLB? 


If Baseball is the goal... start looking at other schools.   Do you have any other contacts from recruiting previously.     Check on the NCAA rules to know what is allowed (I'm too far removed to have 100% certainty dealing with NLI releases)  http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/co...d+appeals/index.html 

JC may be the best route.  See RED below.


From NCAA website:  

The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution

  • A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

Basic penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement:  A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.


Where is the penalty for the school not fulfilling the agreement?


By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution.

The National Letter of Intent has many advantages to both prospective student-athletes and participating educational institutions:

  • Once a National Letter of Intent is signed, prospective student-athletes are no longer subject to further recruiting contacts and calls.

  • Student-athletes are assured of an athletics scholarship for a minimum of one full academic year.

Hey SDBB, cool your jets a little bit. 

A D1 coach may contact a prospective student athlete even if a NLI has been signed.  It is not a recruiting violation per NCAA rules.  Instead, the NLI is a contract between the college and the player, and enforcement of the agreement is done by contractual agreements among the colleges participating in the NLI program. The NCAA does not administer the program, and in this situation the college with which the NLI agreement was made is certainly not going to complain if another college contacts the player.

If both college and player agree, the NLI contract is dissolved and all of the provisions are no longer effective.  In this case, that's what the coach is proposing-- he wants the player to agree to dissolve the contract.  So all of the stuff you've underlined, including the part in red, would no longer apply.  JC could be the best option, but not because of anything to do with the NLI program.


My point is PlayerMom should read the agreement.    I'm concerned and helping by providing information.  And a viewpoint from my 10 years of direct experience with  NCAA institutions.  The way I read it;  Before PlayerMom can do anything concerning any school and still completely fulfill the agreement her son signed;  Her son has to get a release, (which seems school will agree to).  Even going to a JC if you read the letter of the agreement a release is required to go back to any NLI school for the next 4 years, or graduating the JC.  

   Once the release is signed the school is off the hook, but that doesn't mean the athlete will necessarily get another scholarship with another school.    Just another case where the athlete isn't the entity being protected.


From the NLI website link I provided earlier.

Recruiting Ban After Signing

I understand all participating conferences and institutions are obligated to respect my signing and shall cease to recruit me after my signing this NLI.  I shall notify any recruiter who contacts me that I have signed an NLI.  Once I enroll in the institution named in this document, the NLI Recruiting Ban is no longer in effect and I shall be governed by applicable NCAA bylaws.


Basic Penalty

I understand that if I do not attend the institution named in this document for one full academic year and I enroll in another institution participating in the NLI program, I may not compete in intercollegiate athletics until I have completed one full academic year in residence at the latter institution.  Further, I understand I shall be charged with the loss of one season of intercollegiate athletics competition in all sports.  This is in addition to any seasons of competition used at any institution.

Statute of Limitations

I am subject to the NLI penalty if I do not fulfill the agreement; however, if I do not attend an NLI member institution to fulfill the agreement or penalty and four years has elapsed since my signing date, the NLI is no longer binding.  Therefore, this NLI is in full force and effect for a period of four years, commencing with the date I sign this NLI.


Provisions of Letter Satisfied

a.   One-Year Attendance Requirement.  The terms of this NLI shall be satisfied if I attend the institution named in this document for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters) as a full-time student.


b.   Two-Year College Graduation.  After signing this NLI while in high school and if I later attend a two-year college, the terms of this NLI will be satisfied if I graduate from the two-year college.

Release Request and Appeal Process

In the event I wish to be released from my NLI obligation, the NLI release request and appeal process information can be reviewed on the NLI Web site at www.national-letter.org.  I understand that the NLI Policy and Review Committee has been authorized to issue interpretations, settle disputes and consider petitions for complete release from the provisions of the NLI when extenuating circumstances are determined to exist and the signing institution denies my request for release. I further understand the Committee’s decision may be appealed to the NLI Appeals Committee, whose decision shall be final and binding. 



Sorry this happened to you, and I hope it gets better soon.


FWIW - I do know someone who went through this with an SEC school, and it worked out extremely well for him.  They ran away from the school and coach, and feel blessed the coach's true colors were shown before he matriculated.  Four years is a long time.  


I certainly wouldn't start the recruiting process all over again, but simply inquire to the schools that your son had previous serious discussions. Good luck, and I'm sending some good karma your way. 


I think this type of thing happens a lot more than we realize. So glad it's seems to be turning around.


imo, It seems like all the burden is on the student athlete and his or her family even after a contract is in place.Obviously the consequences to a player for honoring a contract is massive compared to what happens to a coach or a school when they are asked to honor something they don't want to. 

Sorry that this happened. I too think it happens more than we know. I think in some ways it may be better than if he had gone and got cut, or never got to play. Its tough,sometimes I think I wish my son had become a fisher, golfer etc. LOL  Less stress.Hope it all works out I truly do.

I would hope at the least you would contact the AD and see about being reimbursed for the non-refundable plane tic.  I agree with what others have said, go where your wanted regardless of the improper planning this HC did.  That being said you have a dialog.

Your son was lucky to learn this about the coach before he showed up on campus.  I would be careful and take my time to choose another program, assuming he will have choices.  Going to a jc might give him time to figure out what he really wants and learn more `about programs he's interested in.  Worked that way for my son.  My personal feeling is that he needs to find a coach who beleives in him and has a vision of him playing in his program. 

To clarify a point made earlier, the NCAA does indeed manage the National Letter of Intent program.  It used to be administered out of the SEC offices, but that responsibility was shifted to the NCAA a few years ago.


And, as SDBB copied from the NLI website, there is a recruiting ban after a prospect signs an NLI.  That is the primary reason that the NLI was created in the first place, was to put a stop to prospects continuing to be recruited after they had signed with a school.  Coaches and athletic administrators (who after all, came up with the idea) wanted to "lock in" a prospect and not worry about them being continually pursued by other programs (and the signing schools didn't want to be pushed to continue their recruiting efforts on those already signed).


Also, while I DON'T RECOMMEND IT, there is another option if the athlete wanted to have some "payback" on this school.  The athlete could enroll there for the Fall semester, get their scholarship, cause the school to have to count their scholarship against their limit and their 35 man roster, and then transfer to another Div. I after the first semester.  The athlete would have to sit out one year from competition at the next school, but could work out and practice at the school during that year of sitting out, and be eligible to play when Spring 2015 rolls around with all eligibility remaining after having a year to get bigger and stronger.


Finally, to reiterate another point in SDBB's copy and paste of the NLI rules, if the athlete does go the JUCO route to start with, he'll still need a release from the NLI if he plans to transfer to a Div. I (or II) school before graduating from the JUCO.  Otherwise, this NLI is still binding on him (assuming the Big 12 school he signed with would have an interest or need for him at that point).

Bob, since NCAA Div. III doesn't offer athletic scholarships, and doesn't utilize the National Letter of Intent, none of this applies to Div. III. 


If you're referring to the transfer aspect of the info above, a transfer to Div. III can be immediately eligible as long as they would have been eligible if they had stayed at the previous institution rather than transferring.

To clarify the earlier clarification, , the NLI program is governed by Collegiate Commissioners Association. The NCAA does handle the paperwork, but the form and content of the NLI is set by the CCA.  If disputes occur, the matter is resolved within the CCA, and not by the NCAA.  There is a recruiting ban, as Rick says, but it is not part of the NCAA rules, and coaches at non-participating colleges (think Ivys, Patriot League, and service academies) are free to continue recruiting.  If a coach at a participating school does recruit in spite of the ban, there are no repercussions from the NCAA.  Instead, the coach would be violating the agreements his institution have with the NLI program, and any recourse would be determined by the CCA..


In the situation affecting the OP, once the NLI school makes known that they wish to back out, immediate recruitment by other schools benefits everyone, especially the NLI school.  Realistically, the CCA is not going to do anything to discipline the recruiting schools in this situation.  After all, a primary purpose of the NLI is to stop schools from poaching another school's recruits.  In this situation, the NLI school wants just the opposite.


I bring this up partially because people may suppose if the OP's son were to not ask for a release, and enrolled at his NLI school, but the school refused to award a scholarship, then some NCAA rule would have been broken. Instead the OP's only recourse would be a suit to recover the cost of the promised scholarship.  The NLI is a contract between school and player.  The NCAA is not involved or responsible, unless it makes an error with the paperwork.

What school was it? Why is it such an issue to name schools on this board if it's not a positive remark? I'm sure all the parents lurking on this site would appreciate the information. Plus, if my son where in this situtation, I would hope the head coach would tell him before he shows up on campus. Yes, it's devastating news, but it beats trying to play where your not wanted.   

Originally Posted by im647f:

What school was it? Why is it such an issue to name schools on this board if it's not a positive remark? I'm sure all the parents lurking on this site would appreciate the information. Plus, if my son where in this situtation, I would hope the head coach would tell him before he shows up on campus. Yes, it's devastating news, but it beats trying to play where your not wanted.   

I agree.  How do you get coaches to stop doing this if people are afraid to put the schools name out there?  It would most likely help with decisions for future recruits. 

Originally Posted by im647f:

What school was it? Why is it such an issue to name schools on this board if it's not a positive remark?

im6471 & aleebaba,


Discretion is a very good thing in this case IMHO.  There are all kinds of situations/reasons why it isn't a good idea for the OP to post the identity of the program publically.  If it was me, I wouldn't post publically either as I have a younger son who may want to play college ball in a few years.  Whether the OP is right or wrong or has been slighted by the program, it is best to keep it a private matter.  


College coaches talk a lot among themselves, and they also wield a lot of power especially at the D1 level with regards to scholarships, and % of scholarships are awarded annually.  In addition, you don't want to embarrass those HSBBWeb parents or players currently in the program.


If you are serious about the topic, I suggest you "Dialog" or PM the OP to keep it private.  Maybe the OP will share the identity of the program with you.  Good luck.

You know I respect you very much fenway, but these types of programs need to be identified some way or another.  I understand the potential for retaliation, but hopefully in the future when the risk of retaliation is removed the school will be identified.

I am in 100% agreement with Fenway.


I have no doubts that this is a bad situation, but I have to take it for what it is, and it's the preception of what happened to the OP's player and she posted in anger and I don't know the other side of it.  I am not sticking up for the coach.  These things happen and it is a shame.  Why not just send a pm asking her who the coach is?

Posting negative things naming coaches and  programs is not in the best interest of the HSBBW.


The best thing about this topic is that it does bring about awareness.


 Write this down. Before your son commits make sure you have done your homework, don't let that big name conference school make you think that these things can't happen there.  The player is entitled to his scholarship, he may think you don't know that. The only way he can get that money is if the player asks for a release.  


Folks, you need to go in prepared to let the coach think that you are smarter than he thinks you are. 


This is where the importance of the site come in, educating parents and players rather than posting bad things and naming specific coaches and programs.


Ask this question at recruiting, "what happens when the players you expect to be drafted are not"?  We did, so we knew that in the program he was going, they honor all NLI and if money is needed, it comes from those guys that didn't get drafted or did and decided to stay. 


In my local area, there is a local baseball discussion forum. One thread noted several months ago that an area player had committed to "a big, public, state university". Six months later another thread notes that the player has withdrawn his verbal.


Player was a recruited walk-on. After the verbal commit, things got quiet. No response to calls, texts or emails to the coaching staff. They finally responded back that they had just forgot to contact him. Basically, by not responding they painted a clear picture that they didn't want him anymore. Apparently this school routinely over recruits and if they find a better prospect, they shun some of their early verbals to the point they back out. This school has had a very successful season.


Don't know anything other than what I read on another board. The player in question has since been drafted.

Here's an other side of this story.  Corn Jr. was told by his college coach he may lose 10-20% of his scholarship for his senior year because of over commitments to new players and some walk on's deserving (earning) scholarships and some players he thought would get drafted and weren't.  Corn Jr was drafted but it doesn't look like he will sign so he will be a big part of the team next year.  He led the team in HR's. RBI's and slugging and hit over .300 for the regular season.  Coaches are really caught in the middle right now, damned if they do, damnéd if they don't.  It's like a game of chicken.  I am not happy with the situation but I understand, the coach has proven to be upright and honest with us so far.

Interesting...there was an article in the lastest issue of Sports Illustrated regarding the NLI. It was written from the perspective of the prospective college football prospect, but mentioned that a lot of high level college hoops players are now refusing to sign the NLI. 


If you want to read it's the issue with Cabrera and Fielder on the cover. Can't find article posted on-line. 

I've written it before, and I''ll write it again:


A big part of the "homework" TPM references is having in-depth conversations with current/recent players and their families. Seek out opportunities to engage them in honest discussion without the coaches present and use those opportunities to test the coaches' assertions that are of greatest significance to you.


We did that and ended up finding it very useful. During my son's recruitment, a head coach admitted that his offer was lower than he wanted it to be because of some unexpected choices by some of his current players. However, he went on to tell us that if my son made the contribution they thought he was capable of making, they'd remedy that as funds in the scholarship pool became available.


Given the significance of his comments, we tested them in subsequent conversation with players and their parents, and we were told by several that he'd made good on such comments to others in the past.


My son accepted, and his head coach subsequently came through exactly as he'd said; systematically over the course of my son's time there.


Trust, but verify. Always.

Originally Posted by can-o-corn:

Here's an other side of this story.  Corn Jr. was told by his college coach he may lose 10-20% of his scholarship for his senior year because of over commitments to new players and some walk on's deserving (earning) scholarships and some players he thought would get drafted and weren't.  Corn Jr was drafted but it doesn't look like he will sign so he will be a big part of the team next year.  He led the team in HR's. RBI's and slugging and hit over .300 for the regular season.  Coaches are really caught in the middle right now, damned if they do, damnéd if they don't.  It's like a game of chicken.  I am not happy with the situation but I understand, the coach has proven to be upright and honest with us so far.

This is not uncommon this is what usually occurs. 

Best of luck to your son in his decision.

We promptly applied to have his NLI release through the NCAA.   The school completed the release and it was approved.  We are fortunate that my son has the "credentials" and contacts, and was able to gain some immediate interest from schools.  He was offerred and accepted a scholarship from a top D1 school. The scholarship is for a lessor amount, but again, we are blessed to be able to afford it.  

Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement  through your dialogs and posts.  

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