November 5, 2009

Volleyball Early Signing Period

Hey Coach,

Parent of 2010 - I know the NLI can be signed no sooner than 11/11/09 this year, but how long is the "window"? I could not find this on the NCAA site, just the fact that the "dead" period starts on Monday 11/9. Will you post the pertinent dates on your site since signing is next week? Thanks.


Good question that many Volleyfolks may be curious about. There are two signing periods in NCAA Division I and II Volleyball, Fall and Spring. The term "signing" is meant to include the National Letter of Intent (NLI) and the school's scholarship papers. The NLI is the legal document which obligates the school and the Prospective Student Athlete to each other. In some cases, the NLI can be broken without penalty, provided both parties agree to a release of obligation.

The Fall Signing Period is from November 11th to November 18th (the initial date and the final date to sign). The NLI must be signed and dated by the PSA within this specific time frame.

The Spring Signing Period is from April 14th to August 1st. The Spring Signing Period has a much larger window of issuance, but after being issued, the NLI must be signed and dated within 2 weeks. This is a big difference between the fall and the spring versions.

The National Letter of Intent website with related dates and regulations can be found here.

In conjunction with the Fall and Spring Signing dates, the NCAA imposes a Dead Period. The Dead Period is the most restrictive of the defined periods and if you are just dying to know, then squint very hard:

A dead period is a period of time when it is not permissible to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations on or off the institution's campus or to permit official or unofficial visits by prospective student-athletes to the institution's campus. The provision of complimentary admissions to a prospective student-athlete during a dead period is prohibited, except as provided in Bylaw for a prospective student-athlete who visits an institution as part of a group. During a dead period, a coaching staff member may not serve as a speaker at or attend a meeting or banquet at which prospective student-athletes are in attendance, except as provided in Bylaw, and may not visit a prospective student-athlete's educational institution. It remains permissible, however, for an institutional staff member to write or telephone a prospective student-athlete during a dead period.

For NCAA Division I and II Volleyball, the Dead Periods are:

November 9th to November 12th, 2009 (Monday through Thursday of the Initial Date for the Fall Signing of the National Letter of Intent).

April 12th to April 15th, 2010 (Monday through Thursday of the Initial Date for the Spring Signing of the National Letter of Intent).

Let me close by clearly and loudly expressing to those families/PSA's which do not have a National Letter of Intent to sign next week - DON'T PANIC!!!!

There are still many, many schools which have scholarships available for the 2010 incoming class. Any number of schools have purposely held a scholarship back until after the New Year. It is only after going through a season, that a coach will understand what additions need to happen for success in 2010.

Also, it is after the fall semester that many players will initiate some type of change (home sick, burned out, flunked out, etc.) which can free up a scholarship.

If you are fortunate enough to be signing a National Letter of Intent next week - Congratulations. If not, don't freak out - Just keep working hard and taking positive action, and you will find the best spot for your future.

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