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The Pitchfork

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The Pitchfork

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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