Taken from the NLI section of NCAA.org
The NCAA Eligibility Center manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 612 Division I and II participating institutions.
The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the National Letter of Intent, and no institution is required to join the program.
By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated college or university for one academic year. Pursuant to the terms of the National Letter of Intent program, participating institutions agree to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete, provided he/she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs a Letter of Intent. This prohibition requires participating institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a National Letter of Intent is signed with another institution.
The National Letter of Intent has many advantages to both prospective student-athletes and participating educational institutions:
Once a National Letter of Intent is signed, prospective student-athletes are no longer subject to further recruiting contacts and calls.
Student-athletes are assured of an athletics scholarship for one full academic year.
By emphasizing a commitment to an educational institution, not particular coaches or teams, the program focuses on a prospective student-athlete's educational objectives.
Based on what I am reading there - the NLI means that another school cannot recruit the player without a release from the NLI. Therefore, if Morales is visiting UNCW as reported - he is doing it either having been released from the NLI or breaking the agreement.
In addition the Basic Penalty as described at NCAA.org
Basic Penalty. I understand that if I do not attend the institution named in this document for one full academic year and I enroll in another institution participating in the NLI program, I may not compete in intercollegiate athletics until I have completed one full academic year in residence at the latter institution. Further, I understand I shall be charged with the loss of one season of intercollegiate athletics competition in all sports. This is in addition to any seasons of competition expended at any institution.Based on all of that it sounds to me like Morales has to be released from the NLI to compete somewhere else next season - and if he is not released, he would only have 3 years of eligibility in total.
I do not know the specifics of this case. But I think you can draw a few conclusions based on the above. Let's hope it all works out for the best.
As a followup - the internet buzz is that Morales has requested and been granted his NLI release. Some folks close to the program knew nothing of it or didn't want to share if they did. The other part of the rumor mill is that Morales will resign if Dunlap is hired. As far as I know, neither Burrell or James has asked for the release, but that could happen if they don't like the ultimate decision.
However, go back to Burrell's comments at the time of the signing and there is some hope that it isn't just the coaching staff that attracted him....
From an article at insidenova.com
“I picked Mount St. Mary’s because the school was a good fit,” said Burrell “I felt I fit in with their system of play, I had a good feel for their coaching staff and I got along with the players there.
“Once I got up there, I was sold.” “It’s a smaller campus,” he said, “and everything is right there. I liked that. I got to see the players and they’re all guys who work hard. I got a feel that I can play at that level.”
“With my penetration and fast-pace running the break,” Burrell said, “that’s what I do well and that’s what they focus on.”
But that is not to underestimate the connection he had to the old coaching staff, and current candidate Brion Dunlap.
“I spoke with coach Dunlap a lot,” Burrell said. “He’s from the area and he was involved in a lot of my recruiting. He came to a lot of games and open gyms. He’s also good friends with my cousin, Hollis Johnson—it’s a good connection.Again I hope it all works out for the best.