No more conditions on letters of intent

You’ll probably recall a time when Devan Ebanks and Terrell Holloway were signed to play for Indiana.

You’ll definitely recall what happened next: Kelvin Sampson was bought out for committing major NCAA violations, and the Hoosiers imploded.

Ebanks and Holloway slipped out the back door, invoking a clause they had convinced Indiana to insert into their letters of intent that made them effectively null and void if Sampson, for whatever reason, wasn’t the coach of the Hoosiers anymore.

Well, as of today, schools may no longer make adjustments to the letter of intent, according to the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy.

The National Letter of Intent Policy and Review Committee sent a memo to member schools Thursday announcing that “institutions should be aware they are prohibited from establishing any additional conditions associated with the NLI agreement in advance of a prospective student-athlete signing the NLI.”

First thought? More hypocrisy from the NCAA, which claims to want to protect the “student-athlete.” Coaches, of course, are free to come and go as they please. Players, meanwhile, are offered no protection. They could end up playing for a coach they don’t know whose system they don’t fit into.

Obviously, Indiana is the most extreme of extreme examples. Still, you can see clearly how unfair it would have been to have asked Ebanks or Holloway to honor their letters. Indiana was no longer the Indiana they’d signed with.

Of course the NCAA wants its “student-athletes” to pick a school, not a coach. Which is nice, but unrealistic. College coaches are the faces of their programs; their personalities are always a major factor in recruiting.


  1. Chris, you got it right. The kids are recruited by the coach, not the school, and have a relationship with the coach, not the school. They should be allowed out of their LOI if the coach leaves before they enroll.

    I think this decision will lead to two things. 1) More spring signings by kids wanting to be sure about the coaching situation and, 2) You may see some high profile kids refuse to sign the LOI and demand a scholarship without one.

  2. I like the idea. I think they should also do something similar for the coaches though too. It will make kids actually look at the school a little before they decide where they want to go. It’s the school that is giving these kids a free ride anyway, not the coaches.

  3. The school could still pull a scholarship offer from a kid even after he signs. Its a bummer, but the reality of the NCAA…

  4. Why is the NCAA issuing this statement? The LOI program is adminstered by and controlled by the CCA (Collegiate Commisioners Association).An athlete only signs the LOI once. It is not a yearly process. The topic is far more complicated than it appears.

    By the way, an athletic scholarship is NOT A FREE RIDE!

  5. D. Williams will sign his LOI. The naysayers need to stop posting ignorant drivel about whether he will be on campus or not. I wonder how many Marquette students, fans and alum complained incessantly about D. Wades scholly. He was after all a prop 48 and his best D1 offer was Marquette. Seems that worked out alright.

  6. Jay,

    You do re-sign every year. I’m not sure if it’s actually an LOI every year, but you do need to sign some form on a yearly basis for your scholarship.

    When I played we’d always have to stop by the coaches office at the end of the year before we left school for the summer to “re-sign”.

  7. BGleas,
    In the 60’s I had to sign as well. The LOI did not exist then. But no, you only the sign the LOI once. the LOI is not a scholarship.
    I’ll get the link and post it for you and anyone who might be interested.

  8. Nothing has changed. No wording has changed in the rules to mean something different. It is exactly as it was intended to be. It only reaffirms the rule to stop schools, coaches and recruits from playing loose by adding an addendum for somebody’s liking. A school’s offer and a recruits signing are in concrete. It certainly eliminates a slimy coach’s trump card if he moves to another institution (ie: Calipari from Memphis to UK) and canceling existing players scholarships to bring in recruits committed to his previous employer. I believe it helps keep the recruiting playing field more level. It may also neutralize some of WWW’s influence to a certain degree.

  9. Jay,

    You may be right, like I said at first I’m not sure if it’s actually an LOI each year, but you do sign for your scholarship every year. You do have to sign a form to “renew” each season. I think you are right that it’s not actually an LOI you sign every year though.

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