Can high school athletes profit off of their name, image, and likeness?


FILE – Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) runs for a first down against Permian during the first half of a high school football game in Odessa, Texas, in this Friday night Sept. 13, 2019, file photo. Third-year Ohio State coach Ryan Day opens a preseason camp for the first time without a good idea of who will be the starting quarterback. Quinn Ewers, the top quarterback prospect in the class of 2022 who says he is skipping his senior year of high school in Texas and plans to enroll at Ohio State is the wildcard. (Ben Powell/Odessa American via AP, File)

ST. LOUIS- College athletes are a full month into being able to make money in a variety of ways, through product endorsements, private coaching opportunities and other methods which now fall under what is known as name, image and likeness (NIL) reform.

While some of the doomsday predictions from those who are concerned about the prospect of student-athletes getting paid haven’t materialized yet, an interesting debate has emerged: what about high school athletes?

Over the last 20 years, in football in particular, many high school seniors have graduated early at mid-semester in order to participate in college spring practices. The theory went that they’d be in better position to earn playing time than other freshmen who don’t step on campus until June or July.

But with NIL now NCAA-legal across the country, there may be a new reason for high school seniors to look to college earlier. Just ask Quinn Ewers, a Texas high school quarterback from the same school that produced Missouri QB Chase Daniel.

Ewers confirmed Monday that he’ll skip his senior season to enroll at Ohio State this fall.

Can high school athletes in Missouri and Illinois profit off of their name, image and likeness? The answer is complicated.

According to the NCAA, as long as high school student-athletes aren’t being paid for their play, they don’t jeopardize their college eligibility if they’re paid for their name, image or likeness while in high school.

According to the Missouri State High School Activities Association, the answer is no:

Missouri State High School Activities Association bylaws

In addition, the state’s new law regarding NIL reform only applies to student-athletes at post-secondary schools.

In Illinois, the language in the state’s NIL legislation applies specifically to college student-athletes.

The Illinois High School Association’s bylaws are less specific than Missouri’s when it comes to amateurism for high school students, but a spokesman confirmed that the association’s rules “generally prevent students from accepting anything valued at more than $75 based on athletics. With that said, depending on how a “sponsorship” was structured, there is a chance that it could be allowed,” said Matt Troha, IHSA’s assistant Executive Director.

At least one state is already moving in the direction to allow name, image and likeness benefits.

New York would join California as states which allow for high school athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness.

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