Over the last two weeks, I posted the definitions of a verbal agreement and the National Letter of Intent. This week I wanted to do a comparison of the two to better explain how they relate to the recruiting process.
A verbal agreement is not legally binding, however, the NLI legally binds a student-athlete (SA) to attend that institution in exchange for athletic aid.
While a verbal commitment can be made at any time during the process, the SA can only sign the NLI during designated signing periods of an SA’s senior year.
A verbal commitment is an agreement between an SA and the current coach. The NLI is an agreement between the SA and the institution.
If an SA has made a verbal commitment and the coach leaves, the SA is not required to attend that institution and the institution is not required to uphold the verbal agreement. If an SA signs their NLI and the coaches leave, the SA is still legally obligated to attend that institution.
The scholarship terms of the verbal agreement can legally be adjusted before the SA signs their NLI, the terms of the scholarship amount can not be changed once the student has signed their NLI (assuming they remain eligible to play and are admitted to the school)