The biggest story in college sports in the past 2 months has been the supreme court ruling that has allowed for collegiate athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness.
The move is set to change the lives of all college athletes and greatly affect the college sports landscape as a whole. And while allowing college athletes to sign endorsements once seemed unlikely, extending this same privilege to high school students has never even been seriously considered.
After all, most of them are not even 18 yet. That was the case until now.
According to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which governs High School sports in California similar to how the NCAA governs all collegiate sports, high school athletes have always been granted NIL rights.
The only statewide stipulation was that they could not be seen in official school uniforms, jerseys, or logos in official advertisements.
The issue, until now, was that capitalizing off these rules meant forfeiting your NCAA eligibility. And with this hurdle out the way, the top high school athletes are set to make some life-changing career moves.
California, along with Florida, Georgia, and Texas, produces more NCAA athletes than all other states.
One current California athletic standout is Mikey Williams of Lake Norman Christian High School. The young phenom already has a combined 5 million followers on social media and is projected to be a top pick one day in the NBA draft. Even more outstanding, the rising sophomore has already reportedly netted over $2,000,000 in endorsements.
Yes, Williams is already a multi-millionaire athlete and is yet to blow out the candles on his 18th birthday.
As it stands California is the only state where high school athletes are set to profit of their NIL rights. Most states have yet to make an official ruling regarding their high school athletes. But several states, such as Texas, Mississippi, and Illinois have decided to rule against allowing high schoolers to monetize their fame.
Texas’s NIL law states that no individual, corporate entity, or other organization may enter into any arrangement with a prospective college athlete relating to the athlete’s NIL prior to the athlete’s enrollment in an institution of higher education. Both Mississippi’s and Illinois’s NIL laws have very similar wording.
These states did not provide any explanation as to why they took the extra step in prohibiting high schoolers from the same newly acquired benefits enjoyed by college athletes. The remaining states declined to address whether or not they will be extending NIL rights onto high schoolers.
Arkansas took a weird approach in addressing high school athletes. According to State law, high school athletes are not authorized to sign endorsements with any third-party organizations. However, they are also not prohibited from such arrangements either.
It seems hard to justify allowing collegiate athletes to monetize their fame while at the same time denying high school athletes the same right. With the number of eyes on top prospects like Mikey Williams and other top-ranked athletes, there are millions of dollars being left on the table for these kids.
It will be interesting to see if the next wave of top prospects will begin flocking to the west coast to play and maximize their opportunities in California.