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Will High School Students Be Next to Gain Name, Image, and Likeness Rights?

In July 2021, the National Federation of State High School Associations announced high school students would not be able to use their names, images, and likeness (NIL) to receive money “in any form.” This association is similar to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the collegiate level. Noting the unique community of high school sports, the high school association asserted, “professional contracts could be a real disruptor.” This announcement came shortly after the NCAA approved a new policy allowing D1, D2, and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for the use of their NIL. High school students are permitted to make money using their NIL through social media, as long as they do not post images suggesting they represent their high schools.

However, a few states do allow for high school students to receive some compensation for their name, image, and likeness. For example, the California Interscholastic Federation allows high school students to profit off of their NIL as long as they do not use the school’s name, logo, or uniform. Any deals or sponsorships will not impact the player’s ability to earn a college scholarship or cause them to lose their NCAA eligibility. New York and New Jersey seemingly plan to take similar positions. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association allows high school athletes to use their name, image, and likeness provided they did not use their school’s name, uniform, logos, marks, or affiliations. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association also allows students to benefit from their NIL rights, while it prohibits the use of their school logos and marks. In addition, New Jersey student-athletes may not endorse such things as adult entertainment, alcohol, cannabis, gambling, and firearms. Other states are reportedly considering similar rules allowing student-athletes to use their NIL.