After college decision, whether high school athletes can make money with their image becomes a hot topic
By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff The phrase ‘name, image and likeness’ has dominated the college sports scene this year, with a Supreme Court ruling leading the NCAA to adopt an interim policy giving all of its student-athletes current and new entrants the opportunity to financially benefit from these three elements of their identity. The NCAA decision came just before many state laws or decrees providing the same rights took effect, and the current policy will remain in effect until the NCAA sets new rules on the matter or the legislation. federal law be enacted.
By Ernie Clark, Bangor Daily News Staff
The phrase “name, image and likeness” has dominated the college sports scene this year, with a Supreme Court ruling leading the NCAA to adopt an interim policy giving all of its current and future student-athletes the opportunity to financially benefit from these three elements. of their identity.
The NCAA decision came just before many state laws or decrees providing the same rights took effect, and the current policy will remain in effect until the NCAA sets new rules on the matter or the legislation. federal law be enacted.
While the historic change only applies to varsity sports to date, it also sparked much discussion at the recent annual summer meeting of the National Federation of State High School Associations in Orlando, Fla. .
“We talked about it every day,” said Maine Principals Association interschool executive director Mike Burnham, also a member of the association’s board of directors. “It was a huge topic of conversation.”
It’s unclear whether the name, image, and likeness rules will eventually apply to high schools, as recent state law that led to the NCAA’s policy change only affects high schools. university sports.
“The legislation that we see passed or in motion is not about high schools,” said Dr Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, which oversees interschool sports across the country. “At the moment, we don’t have legislation that says high school student-athletes are able to engage in contracts and such as name, image and likeness.”
Niehoff cited in a recent media post the differences between college and high school sports, including the elite level of the student-athlete population that may be most likely to generate name, image and performance opportunities. resemblance to the more participatory nature of high school sports.
About 6 percent of America’s 8,000,000 high school student-athletes continue to play collegially in one of the three divisions of the NCAA.
“We really want to distinguish the high school population and that high school attendance from that of college,” Niehoff said. “Being in high school track and field is really, really a privilege. It’s a part of the overall educational experience, and the mission of attending high school is a little different from [college]. “
The push for reform has been driven in large part by the big television contracts that the NCAA and major Division I conferences land for events such as the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament and playoffs. of the Football Bowl division.
Such lucrative media offers are not available at the interschool level, nor are scholarships or additional benefits for students generally based specifically on athletic prowess generally.
At the Maine Principals’ Association, revenue generated from some of the activities it sponsors each year, such as the high school basketball tournament, helps defray the costs of the other 24 activities it sponsors.
“When it comes to the actual high school locker room experience… we think professional contracts could be a real disruptor in terms of how all kids, families, and the entire high school community feel where one or several student-athletes are identified as more elite and, in fact, quite frankly identified as professionals, ”Niehoff said. “We don’t think it’s appropriate. “
Niehoff is also concerned that the opportunity to make money will negatively influence the high school student-athlete decision-making process throughout the college hiring process.
“We fear that if something as brilliant as [a name, image and likeness] contract is in front of them, it can undermine a student’s decision on where they want to go in their next phase, ”she said. “We don’t want the agents representing the contracts to be the main influencers. “
A great unknown may be the fate of high school student-athletes who are recruited to participate in varsity sports and who have benefited financially from their participation in activities not sanctioned by the school, such as basketball. AUA.
“Our policy in the past was that any student-athlete who went to play at this higher level had to follow NCAA guidelines in terms of payout or prize money,” Burnham said.
“With the change at the college level, it’s going to force us to have a conversation about amateurism and accepting money. I think we will follow the lead of the national federation in trying to protect high school athletics and not commercialize it. “