Letters of Intent and Signing Periods
Letters of Intent can be very confusing. And most athletes are not aware of the 2 signing periods that exist in baseball. The early and late signing periods. The following article has everything you need to know about the early and late signing periods, and the letter of intent.
The college has two windows to sign players
Recruitment occurs when the player signs a national letter of intent. (Information on letters of intent is found here.
The first window—the early signing period—is after the player’s junior summer (last year it was November 10-17, 2004). This is a brief window, but very important. Many Division I colleges will fly the player to the college at their expense to give him a tour of the campus. An offer and request to sign a latter of intent usually follows. (A parent should accompany the player on the visit, at the parent’s expense.)
There is another, longer window—the late signing period—in the spring of the senior year (this year it is April 13 to August 1, 2005). Signing a letter of intent obligates the player to attend the college for one year in exchange for one year’s scholarship, and stops recruiting efforts by other colleges.
Some slots in college baseball programs are also typically filled in the later signing period. A college never really knows how many slots they have to fill because some college players will sign a pro contract their junior or senior season, and some high school players will sign a pro contract instead of attending college. The regular college application process will be flexible in the case of late-signed players.
Some colleges send out many letters to potential recruits and players who have indicated an interest in the program. A better signal of a program’s interest in the player is a telephone call or visit from one of the college coaches.
Colleges also sign “recruited walk-ons” who are not offered scholarship money but work out with the scholarship recruits their freshman year and is part of the team. A recruited walk-on can be very valuable to a college program because he frees scholarship funds for other athletes. There are also plain walk-ons. Few plain walk-ons make the team.