The men’s basketball program at Ocean State University (OSU) is slated to have two prospects sign NLIs at the end of this week during the early signing period. The coaches and student-athletes are very excited and tell the local media that both individuals will be able to contribute right away and will fit in nicely with OSU’s playbook.
Is it permissible for the coaches to make such comments prior to the prospects’ signing an NLI? Is it permissible for current student-athletes to make such comments?
No, it is not permissible for either the coaches or student-athletes to make such comments before signing the NLI.
NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 states that before the signing of a prospective student-athlete to a National Letter of Intent or an institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid or before the institution receives his or her financial deposit in response to its offer of admission, a member institution may comment publicly only to the extent of confirming its recruitment of the prospective student-athlete. The institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete’s ability of the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution’s team; further, the institution is precluded from commenting in any manner as to the likelihood of the prospective student-athlete committing to or signing with that institution. [D] (Adopted: 1/19/13 effective 8/1/13)
NCAA Official Interpretation- 8/6/91- Student-athletes making comments regarding prospect’s ability – states that prior to the signing of a prospect to a National Letter of Intent or institutional tender of financial aid, a student-athlete may not provide comments to the media regarding a prospect other than confirming the institution’s recruitment of the prospect.