National Signing Day

Observed on the first Wednesday of February, National Signing Day is the day when high school senior football players can officially sign their contracts or letters of intent to play for the college of their choice.

This is not only a chance for the students to play for the school of their dreams and hopefully get an education in the process, but it’s also a chance for the schools to secure the football stars of tomorrow. Although there is an earlier signing period in December, many of the top players wait until this one because it receives the most media coverage.

The History of National Signing Day

This day was established by the College Football Association in 1981. They did this because, prior to that year, each conference had its own signing dates. Recruits were required to sign separate letters of intent since conference letters only restricted signing within the conference. This holiday date standardized the whole process of signing student-athletes.

Some Quick Facts About National Signing Day

We know that for everyone who doesn’t understand how student-athletes are signed to colleges, the whole process can seem rather odd. Of course, we’re not going to delve into the specifics of how they’re signed by schools, but we will take a few moments to list some of the things that we’ve learned about National Signing Day during our research.

  • A National Letter of Intent usually includes the initial enrollment period, financial aid requirements, penalties for not attending the listed school, and the appeals process.
  • Student-athletes must still meet the admission requirements of their school.
  • The chance of a high school athlete making it to a college team is pretty slim. Only about 1 in 14 high school athletes end up playing for a college team.
  • Only 1 in 54 high school athletes will go on to play at NCAA Division I schools.
  • Full-ride athletic scholarships are largely a myth. The average scholarship doesn’t cover all educational expenses.
  • Currently, there are over 188,000 student-athletes in more than 350 Division I schools.
  • There are over 130,000 student-athletes in more than 296 Division II schools.
  • And there are over 201,000 student-athletes in more than 433 Division III schools.

Observing National Signing Day

For student-athletes, this day is the time to sign up with the schools of their choice. For everyone else, it’s a day to find out whether their alma mater signs the next big college athlete.

People can spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #NationalSigningDay. That hashtag is also useful to use to find out which athletes other schools are signing. This is mainly a holiday that’s celebrated between the students and the schools, although college sports fans will certainly want to pay special attention to this day.

For the student-athletes, it’s potentially a day that will change the rest of their lives. Although the life of a college athlete is not always what it’s cracked up to be, it’s still something that is pursued by thousands of student-athletes every year.

When is it?
This year (2024)
February 7 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
February 5 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
February 1 Wednesday