CLEVELAND – Ian Jackson and John “Boogie” Fland are some of the brightest stars in the stronghold of school basketball and now have business deals to confirm it.
New York teens and friendly competitors make money on their name, image and likeness through marketing contracts, often referred to as NIL deals. Contracts began coming to high school level after an NCAA decision last year allowed college athletes to monetize their fame.
Seven states have so far approved deals for training athletes. Other states, such as Ohio, are continuing discussions about whether NIL will tarnish high school sports.
Jackson and Fland, both of whom are considered the best prospects for college graduates in 2024, receive a percentage of sales of merchandise products that have their similarities, and four-digit monthly checks to post about the brand on social media.
The 16-year-old Jackson said he saves money he earns from commodity 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.
The 15-year-old Fland also said he wants to help his family.
“It was a very big deal,” he said. “All the hard work is finally paying off.”
In Ohio, high school principals on May 1 began voting on whether to change the charter of the state high school sports association to allow athletes to sign deals.
“Many of us at OHSAA and school administrators don’t like NIL,” said Ohio High School Sports Association spokesman Tim Stride. “We wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but it doesn’t go away. We can get our hands on it or do what the NCAA has done, and fight it until there is. “
Karisa Niehoff, director general of the National Federation of State High School Associations, said NIL’s rights for high school athletes can be devastating, but she softened her criticism by saying, “I don’t think we’ll see much of that. ”
The high school, Negoff said, “is not meant to make a living, and we hope it will remain so.”
The issue of NIL deals for high school athletes emerged following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June that the NCAA cannot limit education-related compensation to nearly 500,000 student-athletes in the country. Since then, Alaska, California, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Utah have created laws or policies that allow zero compensation to be awarded to high school athletes.
Jackson, who attends Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, is represented by his AAU coach. Archbishop Stepinz High School in White Plains, New York, has hired a marketing consultant to help Flanders and other school students with NIL deals.
Typically, college and high school athletes may use sports agents to promote their name, image, and likeness, but they are not allowed to hire agents to represent them professionally without compromising their rights. The standard fee for marketing agents is 15-20% of an athlete’s zero deal.
Sports associations are high schools in states where NIL deals are allowed to prohibit students from using their school names and team logos in the deals they enter into.
In Florida, high school athletes are not allowed to enjoy their fame. But Laney Higgins, a senior volleyball player at Carrollwood Day School on Lake Magdalen, concluded a deal after the season that donated the proceeds to a concussion center that treated her.
She has signed a contract with Q30 Innovations, a Connecticut-based company that manufactures devices that help reduce brain injuries, after numerous concussions while doing sports. She is donating proceeds to the University of South Florida Concussion Center in Tampa.
This fall, Higgins continues his volleyball career at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia.
“Brands will continue to see that female athletes can accomplish goals in a unique and authentic way, because a big name doesn’t always mean the best of success,” Higgins said.
According to the latest data collected by Opendorse Deals, a company that, according to its officials, has helped link 100,000 college athletes to third parties for NIL deals, the average payout has so far been small. According to the data, athletes of Division I with at least one deal earned an average of about $ 664. For Division II athletes it is $ 59 and only $ 43 in Division III.
Almost 70% of transactions are related to publications on social networks, according to Opendorse.
David Ridpat, an associate professor of sports business at Ohio University, sees the opportunity for student-athletes to reap financial benefits as a civil rights issue. Athletes are not employees of the schools they attend and should not be limited in earning money, he said, adding that the amounts would not be large but could put “a few extra bucks in their pockets”.
“In my opinion, everything was positive,” Ridpat said. “Colleges and, accordingly, high school athletes are not employees and should not be restricted in any market where they have value.”
The Mike Williams basketball phenomenon is part of an exclusive group of high school athletes who have signed lucrative NIL deals. Williams, who will play in the senior class of San Isidro High School in San Diego, signed a deal with shoe and sportswear maker Puma for an undisclosed amount while attending a sports academy in Florida.
The former Texas football star at Queen Evers High School is another exception to the norm of modest wages. Last year, the highly touted advocate decided to drop out of his graduation course to enter Ohio State University early, and the move allowed him to sign $ 1.4 million in zero deals before arriving on campus last summer. Last season, Evers played just two pointless videos for the Parties before deciding to move to the University of Texas.
Matthew Mitten, a professor of sports law at the University of Milwaukee Market, said NIL deals in both high school and college have potential pitfalls, which he called “the last bastion of amateurism.”
Mitten noted that graduates and supporters of the University of Texas announced in December that up to 16 football offensive liners on scholarships would each receive $ 50,000 starting in August to support charity events.
“It almost became a de facto payment for the game,” Mitten said.
Gauntlet and others question the impact of NIL’s capabilities on the forbidden but hardly unusual practice of recruiting high school athletes. He suggested that wealthy private high school graduates could copy the model of Texas University graduates.
Mitten and others say parents of high school athletes need to read NIL agreements to protect their children when the opportunity arises.
“I think they need to be careful,” Mitten said. “There are many legal issues that minors, their parents and guardians will not be familiar with.”