Pro V Con: Athletes should have access to National Letters of Intent

Emily Clarke, Managing Editor

This is the pro argument for whether National Letters of Intent are acceptable for college admission or not. To read the con argument, click here.

College is hard enough to get into, so why not have something that makes it just a little bit easier? If you’ve been playing a sport for years and are talented at it, using that to get into a college just makes sense.

Colleges are no longer only places of higher education. They offer students a chance to diversify their backgrounds and further their talents. Not every student is talented academically. Some students are gifted in the arts or sports.

There are separate colleges for the arts, but not for sports. Students are accepted into an art college for being talented at the arts. So how is it different from being accepted into an academic college with Division I, II, and III sports just for having pure talent in sports?

Under NCAA rules, colleges are allowed to offer students National Letters of Intent (NLI). According to, “The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution [colleges].”An NLI requires prospective student-athletes to attend the college full-time for one year. The college is also obligated to provide athletic financial aid for one academic year for that student-athlete.

Receiving an NLI, however, doesn’t guarantee that a student-athlete will be offered an athletic scholarship. According to only 2% of high school athletes are awarded athletic scholarships to compete in college.

It’s a large misconception that obtaining an NLI means receiving a four-year athletic scholarship. Most athletic scholarships last for a year and then, if the college chooses to, the scholarship can be renewed. Student-athletes have to keep their academic performance up, or scholarships can be retracted.

Student-athletes don’t automatically get accepted into the college of their choice just because they can play a sport well. College coaches and recruiting officers seek out players in high school that they want for their college teams, and then, if the student wants to, they can make a verbal commitment to that college. Before signing an NLI, the student-athlete still has to apply to that college and get accepted. Academics are taken into account.

If student-athletes have to maintain their grades to keep a scholarship, it’s the same as students having to maintain their grades for academic scholarships. Student-athletes have twice the amount of work as regular students – playing their sport and keeping up their grades. I think extra-work should reap a reward, like being more likely to get accepted into a college.

Whether you’re going to college for academics, sports, or the arts, you should be able to use every weapon in your arsenal to get accepted.

Emily Clarke is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and