Monday, March 27, 2023

Marketing deal falls short of NCAA to high school sports

CLEVELAND ( Associated Press) — Ian Jackson and Johnuel “Boogie” Fland are among high school basketball’s brightest stars and now have the business deals to prove it.

New York City’s teens and friendly rivals are cashing in on their name, image, and likeness through marketing contracts often referred to as NIL deals. Contracts are beginning to shrink down to the high school level following the NCAA’s decision last year to allow college athletes to monetize their stardom.

Seven states have approved deals for prep athletes so far. Other states, such as Ohio, continue to debate whether NILs will affect high school sports.

Jackson and Fland, both ranked as top college prospects for the 2024 graduating class, received a percentage of sales and a four-figure monthly check on a merchandise company’s products for posting about the brand on social media. is paid.

Jackson, 16, said he was saving the money he earned from trading company Spreadshop and several other deals to buy a home for his family.

“I want to put my family in a better place,” Jackson said.

Fland, 15, also said he wanted to help his family.

“It’s been a big deal,” he said. “Finally all the hard work is paying off.”

In Ohio, high school principals began voting May 1 to change state high school athletic association bylaws to allow athletes to sign deals.

“A lot of us at the OHSAA and school administrators don’t like the NIL,” said Tim Stride, a spokesman for the Ohio High School Athletic Association. “We wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but it’s not going away. We can have a hand in shaping it or do what the NCAA did and fight it until otherwise.” .

Karissa Niehoff, CEO of the National Federation of State High School Associations, said zero rights for high school athletes could prove disruptive, but she shrugged off her criticism, saying, “I don’t think we’re going to see much of it.” . “

The high school, Niehoff said, “is not intended to be an opportunity to earn a living, and we expect it to remain that way.”

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The issue of NIL deals for high school athletes follows a US Supreme Court ruling last June that ruled that the NCAA could not restrict education-related compensation benefits to the nation’s nearly 500,000 college student-athletes. . Since then, Alaska, California, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana and Utah have enacted laws or policies allowing NIL compensation for high school athletes.

Jackson, who attends Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, is represented by his AAU coach. Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, has hired a marketing consultant to help Fland and other school students with NIL deals.

Generally, college and high school athletes may use sports agents to market their name, image and likeness, but they are allowed to hire agents to represent them professionally without jeopardizing their qualifications. Not there. The standard fee for marketing agents is 15-20% of the athlete’s NIL transaction.

High school athletic associations in states where void deals are allowed prohibit students from using their school name and team logo in the deals they make.

In Florida, high school athletes are not allowed to take advantage of their stardom. But Lanny Higgins, a senior volleyball player at Carrollwood Day School in Lake Magdalene, cut a deal after her season ended, donating her earnings to a concussion center that treated her.

She signed with Q30 Innovation, a Connecticut company that produces devices to help reduce brain injuries, after suffering a number of setbacks in her sport. She donates the proceeds to the University of South Florida Concussion Center in Tampa.

Higgins continues his volleyball career this fall at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia.

“Brands will continue to see that female student athletes can accomplish goals in a unique and authentic way because the biggest name doesn’t always mean the best success,” Higgins said.

According to the latest data collected by Opendoors Deals, a company whose executives say it has helped connect 100,000 college athletes with third parties for zero deals, so far the average payout has been small. According to statistics, Division I athletes have earned an average of about $664 with at least one deal. For Division II athletes, it is $59 and Division III is just $43.

About 70% of deals involve social media posts, as Opensource data shows.

David Ridpath, an associate professor of sports business at Ohio University, views the opportunity for student-athletes to benefit financially as a civil rights issue. The athletes are not employees of the schools they go to and should not be banned from earning money, he said, adding that the amount would not be huge but could “put a few extra bucks in their pockets.”

“In my view, it’s all been positive,” Ridgepath said. “College and, by extension, high school athletes, are not employees and should not be confined to any market place where they are of value.”

Basketball phenom Mickey Williams is among the special group of high school athletes who have signed lucrative NIL deals. Williams, who will be playing her senior year at San Ysidro High School in San Diego, signed a deal with shoe and athletic apparel manufacturer Puma for an undisclosed amount while attending a sports academy in Florida.

Quinn Evers, a former Texas high school football star, is another exception to the norm of modest earners. The highly talked-about quarterback decided to skip his senior year to enroll early at Ohio State University, a move that allowed him to sign a reported $1.4 million in NIL deals before arriving on campus last summer. Gave. Evers played only two meaningless snaps for the Buckeyes last season before choosing to transfer to the University of Texas.

Matthew Mitten, a sports law professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, said there are potential pitfalls in zero deals at both the high school and college levels, which he called “the last bastion of amateurism.”

Mitten noted that in December alumni and supporters of the University of Texas announced that 16 football offensive linemen on scholarship would each receive $50,000 in August to support charitable causes.

“It’s almost become a real payoff to play,” Mitten said.

Mitten and others wonder if NIL opportunities might have an effect on the forbidden yet hardly unusual practice of high schools recruiting athletes. He raised the possibility that wealthy alumni from private high schools could imitate the model of University of Texas alumni.

Mitten and others say parents of high school athletes need to be educated about NIL deals to protect their children, should an opportunity arise.

“I think they have to be careful,” Mitten said. “There are so many legal issues that minors and their parents and guardians may not be familiar with.”


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