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From the colleges and universities to the coaches and high school students, this is the first day when future athletes can sign with their intended school for the next year – and what often becomes the next four years. 

Though most college sports in the NCAA have some sort of signing day, the sport that is featured and gets the most hype on this National Signing Day is American football!

History of National Signing Day

When the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was established in 1906, it started with the name Intercollegiate Athletic Association and then changed its name to NCAA in 1910. The organization’s first national event was conducted in 1921 and it was a National College Track and Field Championship. Since that time, the NCAA began extending its jurisdiction over other athletic events and sports in the college arena and then, in 1942, it began enforcing significant powers.

Still, until 1981, the various conferences in the US all had their own different rules and timelines for their recruiting processes. But when the conferences united nationally, the timeline changed. Following this, the first day for high school seniors to sign with their intended college where they would play football became the first Wednesday in February.

Since that time, National Signing Day has grown in popularity and has even become a televised event, whether through CBS, ESPN or other places to watch online.

Although many college recruiters have the practice of getting verbal commitments from the high school students they have their eye on, these verbal commitments are not legally binding and can be changed up until the time the papers are signed. That’s why National Signing Day is so exciting!

National Signing Day Timeline


NCAA is established

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is founded in the United States as a member-led organization. [1]


Division system is established for NCAA

Divisions I, II and III are adopted by the NCAA where Divisions I and II can offer scholarships to students. [2]


Final year for conference signing days

Prior to this year, each sports conference held its own signing days.


First National Signing Day

After abolishing conference signing days, the NCAA establishes National Signing Day, originally on the third Wednesday in February. [3]


NCAA Sport Science Institute is established

Spearheading health and safety efforts, this institute does work specifically toward concussion research and prevention. [4]

How to Celebrate National Signing Day

Take a look at some of these fun and exciting ways to get involved with celebrating and enjoying the hype of National Signing Day:

Watch National Signing Day Events

Big sports fans will have followed throughout the season to keep track of which recruits might bring the best possibility for their favored teams to win. Watching news coverage of National Signing Day is a fun way for football fans to revel in the excitement and anticipation of what the coming autumn’s football season will be like for their favorite school!

The sports channels typically host a live 8-hour television news coverage. In addition, the newscasters and sports journalists also usually provide in-depth analysis on the latest commitments, and what those picks might mean for the college teams in the coming seasons. In addition to rankings and comparisons, the sports channels may get interviews with coaches or other staff, as well as featuring video footage with insights into the recruits and elite picks.

Wear Some NCAA Swag

Those who get super into the fun of National Signing Day might want to pick up some merch that represents their favorite college football team. Whether it’s a state school pick like Ohio State University or a private school such as Notre Dame University. Sport that dark blue and white sweatshirt in honor of Penn State or wear that burnt orange and white in honor of the Texas Longhorns.

Wave that pennant, hang that flag, and wear that t-shirt to work or to social events and support your favorite college team in honor of National Signing Day!

Host a National Signing Day Event at a Local High School

Those who are teachers, coaches, principals or parents at a local high school may want to make a big deal out of those super talented seniors they have who may be participating in National Signing Day! Even though they are still several months away from graduating, it’s good to be proud of those local athletes who are extra committed and ready to take the next step into playing sports in college.

Show some school spirit and leverage that support for football, basketball, baseball, track and field or other athletes who are signing on to play at their favorite NCAA college or university!

Gather Friends for a National Signing Day Party

High schoolers, college students and working adults can all have fun by having a fun party that celebrates National Signing Day. Invite friends and family members over for the party – because even people who aren’t all that involved in sports can get excited about going to a party. Be sure to ask guests to dress in support of their favorite team.

Of course, it would be great to play the televised events for National Signing Day on the sports station in the background. And then make sure to have all of the important elements of a party: food, music, decorations and friends!

Those who live in a college town might want to theme the entire party around their favorite NCAA football team, decorating in the school’s colors to show support. Serve snacks that feature the theme of the day, play some cool football themed music, and just have tons of fun.

Create a National Signing Day Playlist

When it comes to music in support of sports and athleticism, there are tons of fun songs that can be put on a creative playlist in celebration of National Signing Day. Try out some of these songs that can probably bring out the best athlete in anyone:

  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (1982). This eighties theme song to the Rocky movies has the ability to get just about any crowd excited! It’s especially useful for fans of the Clemson Tigers, Auburn Tigers or Memphis Tigers teams. 
  • The Boys of Fall by Kenny Chesney (2010). This country song speaks of cleats, helmets, and shoulder pads, as well as the fans going crazy for those boys in the fall. 
  • We are the Champions by Queen (1977). This classic seventies song wasn’t necessarily written for athletes, but it’s a beloved song played by almost every college pep band! 

National Signing Day FAQs

Is National Signing Day for all sports?

National Signing Day is on the first Wednesday of February for football, but it varies for other sports based on the sports seasons. [1]

Can you sign after National Signing Day?

Though you can sign a letter of intent after the last signing period ends, there aren’t usually any roster spots left. [2]

What do you do on National Signing Day?

On National Signing Day, legally binding letters are signed that commit students to attending that college for at least one academic year. [3]

How many National Signing Days are there?

All Division I and Division II NCAA sports have a National Signing Day, college football gets the most attention. [4]

Where to watch National Signing Day?

National Signing Day events can often be watched on sports channels such as ESPN as well as live-streaming. [5]

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