Sweat drips from his forehead, and his hands tremble nervously as he sign a document that will change his lives for the next four years. He has spent months and months trying to decide which school is the best fit for him. His decisions were made, and now it is official.
Signing a National Letter of Intent is a big commitment for most athletes; since 1964, this letter ends the recruiting process for colleges and binds an athlete to a school for one academic year. This recruiting process begins with contact and evaluation of a player and is later followed with a verbal commitment, which is when an athlete commits to a school before signing a letter of intent.
The “ National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete agreeing to attend a Division I or II college for one academic year,” NCAA.org said.
However, this verbal commitment is not required. If the National Letter of Intent is not fulfilled, the student athlete “has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports”, according to nationalletter.org.
This year, the first signing period runs from Nov. 14 - 21 for all sports except football, according to NLI. Therefore, the school’s first signing day took place on Nov. 15 in the library. Football signees will be able to start the signing process on Dec.19.
Students attending a Division III school do not receive any athletic scholarships, only merit scholarships. Therefore, they do not need to sign a letter of intent.
According to Athletic Director Buck Weaver, athletes signing to a Division III school will still be included in the last signing day in April along with any student athlete who is “competing at the next level” even if they are not a part of a program at Orange.
Senior Allison Guagenti committed to the Ohio State University to run cross country and track. In order to make this decision, she focused on finding schools that had her major in art education, along with a good running program.
“I chose Ohio State because of the academics and the team. The coaching staff has been really supportive and believed in me even when I was struggling with injury. The team is super sweet and nice, and I really felt like I belonged there when I went on my official visit. And another bonus is it's super close to home, so I can still see my family,” Guagenti said.
“I chose a school that I would be happy at even if I wasn't running because you never know what may happen injury-wise that could end your career. My biggest piece of advice to someone looking at colleges for athletics is pick a school where you will be happy if you are not able to compete,” she said.
In the water, senior Luke Cheetham committed to University of Cincinnati for swim and dive.
“I chose my school because it’s close to home. I love the campus and the athletes on the team. On all of my official visits, Cincinnati felt most like home to me,” Cheetham said. He also was “looking for a strong athletic and academic school that also was very focused on their athletes’ grades and the success of their athletes after college.”
Senior Natalia Sompolvorachai, who has also committed to University of Cincinnati for women’s golf, has decided to focus more on her athletics than her major though, “I’m planning to major in English,” Sompolvorachai said. “I was recruited by the coach and decided the program was right for me when I went to visit their facilities.”
Other athletes signing on Nov. 15 are: Grace Weidenhamer to Saint Francis University for soccer, Lauren Cheetham to University of Michigan for dive, Carrigan O’Riley to Xavier University for volleyball, Ashley Au to Yale University for golf, Riley Dean to Akron University for golf, Taylor Metzler to Lake Erie University and Brooke Little to Indiana University of Pennsylvania for Volleyball.