Georgia high school student-athletes can now profit on NIL deals

The GHSA says students are not allowed to use any of the school’s branding.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 1:38 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 7:46 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - High school athletes in Georgia can now make money off of their name, image and likeness without fear of losing eligibility.

“We’ve been talking about this for almost two years. It’s built around the premise that every individual owns their own name, image, and likeness. What they don’t own is the intellectual property of the school, the school district, or the association,” said Robin Hines, executive director for the Georgia High School Association.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) on Monday passed guideline changes regarding name, image and likeness (NIL) deals during its executive committee meeting with a 65-10 vote.

Hines said the new policy went into effect immediately.

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Posted by Atlanta News First on Monday, October 2, 2023

The idea of NILs became widely known in the college world. The NCAA approved new rules in June 2021 that allow college athletes to profit off their NIL.

RELATED: How NIL has turned Georgia’s college sports into the wild west

The GHSA says students are not allowed to use any of the school’s branding. That includes the school name, mascot or logos. Students are not allowed to do anything on campus related to the NIL deals.

Athletes must also alert the principal within seven days of any new NIL deal.

“It’s a win for the elite high school athlete in the same way that NIL was a win for the elite collegiate athlete and the big market, big brand name programs. I suspect long-term it’s a net loss for the little fish in those big ponds,” said Mike Lewis, marketing professor at Emory University.

Lewis said this is unchartered territory for amateur athletics and he questioned who will safeguard these deals.

“I don’t know that there are police at this point. And when the NCAA waved their hands, and was hoping for someone to come in, I don’t think anyone thought it was going to evolve like this,” said Lewis.

Hines said schools will be responsible for policing each other.

“What was a violation prior is still a violation now,” said Hines.

“I understand when people hear NIL they think about those colleges and think about collectives, which would be illegal in the high school space,” Hines said.

Georgia is the 33rd state to approve NIL deals for high school athletes, according to On3.

“I really do think in the next year all 50 states are going to approve or have similar policies. I really think this approval by Georgia is going to get the southeastern states to get moving here,” said Daniel Greene, an attorney based out of Syracuse who’s developed a specialty in NIL growth. “Everybody in this country should have the right to publicity including athletes in high school.”