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New Jersey high school athletes may be eligible for name, image and likeness deals

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ROBBINSVILLE — Come 2022, New Jersey high school athletes may be able to run sports camps or give lessons for money and not jeopardize their amateur status.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Wednesday took its first steps into the world of name, image and likeness rights.

The NJSIAA introduced a policy during its executive committee meeting that would allow — with limits — state high school athletes to profit off their NIL.

The proposal will formally be introduced next month, receive a second reading in November and then, if adopted, become effective Jan. 1.

“Time will tell,” NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire said when asked how big a benefit NIL could be for New Jersey athletes. “Who knows what the landscape will look like even at the college level? There’s a new market. Everyone is excited. I do think there are athletes in New Jersey who right now have a standing and a presence that probably are going to profit off it. Do I think it’s going to be a large percentage? I’m not sure.”

The NJSIAA’s proposal comes after the NCAA suspended its rule prohibiting college athletes from profiting off their NIL. The NCAA’s decision also said high school athletes could not lose their college eligibility for profiting off their NIL.

Over the past couple of months, state high school sports governing bodies around the country have discussed allowing NIL deals. California allows NIL deals, while Texas, Mississippi and Illinois have made the deals illegal.

The proposal consists of the following key components:

Athletes can receive money for coaching and instructing.

The NIL can’t involve schools, teams or uniforms in any advertising.

Athletes can be featured on radio and TV.

Athletes competing in any events can receive merchandise or “swag bags” worth up to $500.

High school coaches, teachers and administrators are not allowed to be involved in athletes’ NIL activities.

Athletes would be banned from participating in NIL activities that involve casinos or gambling, alcohol, drugs and adult entertainment.

The best way for athletes to use their NIL is probably by running camps or giving private lessons for profit.

Under this proposal, a star basketball player could run his own shooting camp or a soccer goalie could give private lessons.

Maguire said high school athletes getting involved in coaching and mentoring is a long-term positive for scholastic sports.

“If kids who love playing a sport realize there’s a way to stay involved in the sport, it’s better for everyone,” she said. “We need them to turn into coaches. We need them to turn into officials. It’s unintended consequence, but it could turn into a positive.”

The downside to NIL is that it is used to attract athletes to schools. A school with an active alumni group could generate more NIL opportunities than its rivals.

“We have recruiting rules,” NJSIAA attorney Steve Goodell said. “We have to keep an eye on that.”


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