Posted on February 26th, 2021


With the old recruiting rules that allowed players to verbally commit to a college as early as possible in which for both boys and girls lacrosse was in 8th grade a few years ago, this has lead to a recent flux of decommitments as you can imagine the reasons why.  Nevertheless, even with the new recruiting rules placed back in April of 2017 banning early recruiting and only permitting players to verbally commit after September 1st of their Junior Year, players still are decommiting.


For those who are verbally committed or for those who are contemplating decommiting from a college/university prior to the official signing period, below are some important facts to know and understand:


1) Official Signing Period - for the prospective student-athletes who are committed to a NCAA Division I or II institution in Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse, the Initial Signing Period is November 14th of 2018 and the Final Signing Date is August 1st of 2019. Prior to this year and only effective for 2019 Graduates participating in the 2019/2020 school year, the signing period used to be split therfore limiting the number of days for a prospective student-athlete to ’officially’ commit to the institution. 



2)  National Letter of Intent (NLI) - the NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution (not all schools have to have a NLI as this is voluntary but I cannot think of a school who doesn’t have one).


  • prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).


Susan Peal, the N.C.A.A.’s director of the national letter of intent, or N.L.I., said "athletes could ask for a release through the university’s athletic director if they want out of the agreement. She said "96 to 98 percent of the athletes who asked for a release were granted one. There were approximately 48,000 athletes who signed letters each year in all [657 DI & DII] sports and that typically only 2 percent asked to get out of them."


If an athlete signs the letter and is not granted a release, he or she can go to another school and be on scholarship and practice, however, the athlete cannot compete for one year, leaving three years of eligibility in a five year window for lacrosse - other sports, such as football have different rules of eligibility.



3) Decommitting: As referenced above, once you sign the dotted lines on the NLI, you are officially committed to that school and if you do not, you will face violations from the NCAA therefore, decommitting is an option if you are having reservations with the school you verbally committed to. Be sure to take your unofficial and official visits if you haven’t yet to explore other schools that you have an interest in before making a big decision.  


How to Decommit from a College: Cordially and Respectfully! Coaches spend a lot of time, money and resources when recruiting a student-athlete between the different tournaments they attend across the country, speaking with the PSAs coaches and corresponding back & forth via email and phone with the athlete among so much more. If you or a loved one wants to decommit from a college/university that you verbally committed to, be sure that to call the coach that you were in communication with the most. 


Decommitting is common among players and even coaches although coaches do it more discreetly typically when their is a turnover in the coaching staff. Do not think that this could tarnish your reputation however, take onus and responsibility by be gingerly be thoughtful, sincere and respectful by being the first person to tell him or her that after long consideration that you wish to pursue a different opporunity and to thank them for everything they have done.  Lacrosse especially is a very tight-knit community so you never want to burn your bridges and leave on bad terms. 


With the radical technological changes, young adults are growing up with social media, everything on the go and texting with less face to face interaction. With that being said, texting a coach that you are decommitting is something no player should do.



Coaches Perspectives:


"Texting a coach that you are decommitting seems like a cowardly thing to do. It is a reflection on the player and perhaps the club if consulted upon." - Division 1 Coach


"Players should consult with their club coaches or other resources they have. We do not blame the organization or think any less of that player [if they texted us they were decommitting] but we would like them to pick up the phone like we did with them throughout their recruitment period, specifically when they committed". - Division 1 Coach



In closing, make a smart and educated decision so that you can enjoy the next chapter in your life while pursuing a dream of playing lacrosse at the collegiate level. You can find a lot of information pertaining to the NLI by a source listed below or you can contact BOTC directly.  Best of luck!


For the record, this is not throwing shade at any recent decommit or to the idea of decommitting. With the official signing period right around the corner and the flux of decommits, this blog was to shed light on this topic and for players not to feel pressured into a verbal commitment prior to signing their NLIs - This is a life-impacting decision!



Contributed By

Tom Michaelsen from Back of The CAGE

Resources: NCAA | National Letter (NLI)