Verbal Commitment vs. Written Commitment
There are two different steps when committing to a college golf program. The main difference is the verbal commitment is non-binding and the written commitment – typically known as a National Letter of Intent, or NLI, in NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools – is binding. You typically make both of these commitments to the same institution.
Verbal commitments, or “verbal commits,” are a non-binding announcement where you publicly state where you’re heading to college. While we repeat this is not a binding agreement, the verbal commitment does hold some weight.
What Does Verbally Committed Mean?
Being verbally committed to an institution means you intend to sign your National Letter of Intent when the time is right. You can orally commit to your institution at any point in high school after receiving an offer, though the majority of recruits verbally commit their junior year.
How Do You Announce a Verbal Commitment?
You can make your verbal commitment to your coach in person or on the phone. We also recommend following up that conversation with an email stating your commitment once again.
What Happens After a Verbal Commitment?
After you have verbally committed to a college, other golf coaches will still be able to recruit you until you sign a National Letter of Intent. That means your options continue to be open as well and you can change your verbal commitment much more easily than a written one, though most recruits only verbally commit once to show loyalty.
Before you make your verbal commitment, be sure you have wrapped up your official and unofficial visits, have talked to all the college golf coaches you’ve wanted to meet and have confirmed the school you’re choosing can offer the college experience and academics you want. If you do choose to go on other college visits after your commitment, the college coach can rescind his or her offer even if you already verbally accepted.
Written Commitment – the National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent, or NLI, is the culmination of the college golf recruiting process. Applicable to NCAA Division 1 and 2 schools, the NLI is a document you sign noting where you will be playing college golf and the official offer, which includes the golf scholarship agreement.
NCAA Division 3 schools do not offer the NLI because they do not offer golf scholarships, though that’s not to say they don’t offer other types of financial aid.
The signing period for the NLI is early November through August 1st of your senior year of high school (or the year leading up to enrollment), which means you still have time after you graduate to sign your NLI before enrolling in your freshman year of college.
Just like with your verbal commitment, you want to be sure of your choice before signing the National Letter of Intent because once it’s a written, binding contract, you may lose a year of eligibility if you choose to decommit.
Signing the NLI doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve been accepted to the college as you still need to go through the admissions process, though you can discuss those details and next steps with the coach; aligning on your academic requirements and expectations is a part of the recruiting process you want to handle early on.
Now that you know the key differences between a verbal commitment and written one, you can feel more comfortable with your college golf recruiting process and know what to expect as you draw nearer to your decision.
While there is certainly a ton of work to be done to get to this point, don’t forget to take a moment and celebrate all you have achieved. After all your self-reflection, junior golf tournaments and more, you’ve earned a headstart on knowing where you’re heading to college.