high school, NIL deals

High School Athletes In 30 States To Gain NIL Opportunities

Students have a number of protections as well as prohibitions on what they can endorse, for example, an athlete cannot be endorsed by alcohol, gambling or vaping companies or be endorsed by a collective, such as those present at the collegiate level.

High School athletes are now going to be allowed to cash in on the earning potential of NIL deals. In 30 states, student-athletes will be allowed to participate in the name, image, and likeness marketplace. Unlike the process in college, these athletes are not of legal age to negotiate deals, so their parents have to be involved.

As NBC News reported, in Florida although some deals are already signed, such as the deal Adidas has in place with Jones High School student Vernell Brown III in Orlando, the deals cannot become active until the Florida State Board of Education votes to ratify the new rules in July. In addition to Brown, Adidas has agreements with six other high school athletes.

Brown, one of the most sought-after high school football players in the country, told NBC News, “Just like collegiate athletes and professional athletes who put that time in working hard, I think high school athletes put that in as well.”

Brown added, “They’re grinding to get to that next level, so I definitely think there should be some benefit … that pays off for their hard work and ultimately gives us a financial jump-start in life. I’m extremely grateful for it. I think it definitely means more of being on the forefront [of NIL in Florida].” 

Students have a number of protections, as well as prohibitions, about what they can endorse. An athlete, for example, cannot be endorsed by alcohol, gambling, or vaping companies or be endorsed by a collective, such as those present at the collegiate level.

Brown’s father, Vernell Brown Jr., a former college athlete and current mentor of Indianapolis Colts player Anthony Richardson, noted the development is critical for Black athletes. 

“I think it’s extremely critical,” he said. “When you look at families and specifically the population of the NFL, it’s predominantly African American athletes. So I think having this opportunity to kind of set yourself up and then your family … there’s obviously the financial piece with NIL, but I think just the platform is [also] bringing more notice. I think it’s important to have representation and somebody to help you with an agreement and make sure you understand what you’re signing. The parents definitely need to be involved.”

According to an Adidas spokesperson, the deals are structured for one year, or until the player has left to attend college, but will not conflict with any deals the player signs after entering college. 

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