Gripe on Gripe | Name, Image, Likeness Deals

Gripe on Gripe | Name, Image, Likeness Deals
NIL: A disadvantage for student-athletes

Name Image and Likeness, NIL, coming into fruition in high school sports in Georgia changes how GHSA schools view sports. Schools should err on the side of caution when their players consider signing NIL deals. They add unnecessary competition to a high school environment where players should be focusing primarily on building their skills to get into college, professionally, or even just to better themselves. High schoolers are still at such a developmental age in their lives that they are easily influenced. Their frontal lobes are not fully developed yet; therefore, their decision-making skills are hindered, making it difficult for them to be able to make decisions about their “brand.” According to Harvard Medicine School, only approximately 80 percent of a teenager’s frontal lobe is developed. This brings up the fact that these players, regardless of their skill level, are still minors who could be damaged by the consequences of putting their lives out there for the world to see. This puts additional pressure on the student, who is already under pressure from keeping up with schoolwork. However, NIL deals do provide a multitude of opportunities for high schoolers to promote themselves in the future, but they should focus more on developing their tactical skills and wait until they reach the college or professional level to begin promoting their brand by utilizing NIL deals. It also puts high school-level athletes on an uneven playing field with their teammates while being evaluated as prospects for college and the professional level. This will create an environment where athletes become overly focused on themselves instead of focusing on making the team better. It can be a hindrance to the athlete’s education because they will be so preoccupied with their NIL deal. While this may disappoint some, athletes can still promote themselves through social media and personal branding without signing official deals. They may not make any money with this, but the long-term mental benefits will be everlasting.

NIL: An opportunity for high school athletes

The GHSA’s decision on whether or not to allow high school athletes to monetize their names, images, and likenesses was not taken lightly. GHSA leaders knew that their ruling would have a lasting impact on athletes, coaches, programs, and high school sports. The pros and cons were carefully weighed, and ultimately, the right choice was made: the choice to permit student-athletes to profit from their NILs. 

Athletes should have the autonomy to benefit from the value of their brands, which have been formed through hard work and dedication. Some say that NIL monetization compromises amateur status, but this argument needs to be revised because athletes are not getting paid for actually competing in athletics. They are getting paid for the use of their NIL, based on its perceived value. 

One of the biggest positives of high school NIL deals is that they provide athletes who come from low-income backgrounds with means to support themselves through their merit. Being financially stable and not having to worry about money gives these athletes more time to develop themselves and prepare for the future. 

Another common reason for objecting to permitting NIL deals is that it can lead to unfair recruiting and advantages. However, clear regulations have been put in place to prevent this and safeguard the integrity of high school sports. For example, students cannot wear their school’s uniform or use their school’s name in any promotional content. In addition, deals and payments cannot be based on a student’s enrollment in a particular school or contingent on future athletic performance, such as stats or win/loss records. Rules such as these ensure that NIL deals are not just an unregulated free-for-all. 

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