Pay for high school athletes? NCHSSA OKs plan

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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The N.C. High School Athletic Association Board of Directors completed its Spring Meeting and voted to approve several items aimed to positively impact student athletes.

Upon a recommendation from the Policy Committee and the Name, Image and Likeness Committee, the board oapproved the adoption of NIL procedures for student athletes. Effective July 1, student athletes may engage in certain commercial activities to receive tangible benefits. Under the new guidelines, student athletes may publicize their name, image and likeness through appearances, athlete-owned brands, autographs, camps and clinics, group licensing, in-kind deals, instruction, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), product endorsements, promotional activities and social media.

School personnel cannot use NIL as a means for recruitment or enrollment and cannot facilitate deals or act as an agent or marketing representative. Student athletes, parents/legal guardians, coaches, athletic directors and principals must complete the NFHS Name, Image and Likeness Course annually prior to the first contest to participate in NIL practices. Student athletes are also prohibited from affiliating their NIL with certain products including adult entertainment, alcohol, cannabis products, controlled substances, firearms and ammunition, gambling, prescription pharmaceuticals and tobacco, vaping or other nicotine related products. Athletes are prohibited from affiliating with member schools, conferences, PSU, NCHSAA or NFHS.

The board voted to amend the language in the Amateur Rule to reflect monies that may now be accepted by student athletes through NIL.

“There were two words that were talked about often by our board as we considered the NIL policy and even prior to that as we had a committee working to bring a policy forward for consideration; those two words were opportunity and training,” NCHSAA President Rob Jackson said. “Certainly, we had a conversation around wanting to ensure our students have the opportunity to utilize their name, image and likeness because it is theirs and we don’t want to deny students opportunities before them. In fact, we want to give them every opportunity as we possibly can. That second piece, training, is extremely important. We have to train superintendents, we have to train principals, we have to train athletic directors and coaches but we also have to train parents because this is a new frontier for all of us.”

The NCHSAA will continue to provide information on this new rule through its website and will publish an FAQ.

• Effective July 1, a  board change will effect the men’s and women’s basketball playoff format so that the regional finals and the championship games will be contested at a single site in a Final Four format.

Also regarding basketball, the board approved a committee’s recommendation to form an ad hoc committee to investigate the financial and operational costs of adopting a 35-second shot clock.

• Other rule changes include the decision to approve mandatory bat testing for softball. A total of $16,000 was allocated to purchase two testing machines for each region.