NIL is a broad term that, in this case, means students can leverage their status as accomplished athletes to earn money. Compensation can come from product sales, endorsements with other brands, public appearances, training camps and more.
Opportunities are likely to be more scant for high school athletes than college athletes, mainly due to marketability. They’ll probably make less, on average, too. Student-athlete content platform INFLCR’s NIL Year 1 Report puts the average value of all transactions for college athletes at $1,815, and the median value of all transactions at $53.
See: Some high-school athletes are now inking collegiate-style NIL marketing deals
Still, it’s a rapidly evolving industry that can turn a teenage phenom with an interested and engaged following into an entrepreneur overnight.
Take the experience of Elliot Cadeau, a Swedish American top-ranked high school basketball player. When New Jersey began to allow high school athletes to monetize their NIL in January 2022, he had suitors, both inside and outside the U.S., ready to partner up.
While Cadeau’s success won’t translate to most student-athletes, NIL can be the lightning rod that draws kids to business and finance early. For young athletes and entrepreneurs paying attention, the following foundational lessons may apply.
Read the fine print
Rules, regulations and stipulations are a reality of any entrepreneurial industry. High school athletes seeking NIL deals need to be clear on what’s copacetic. Parents should also be well-versed in these rules.
“It’s important that they understand what’s authorized by the high school that their son or daughter attends, and understand the policies that apply there,” says Luke Fedlam, partner and chair of sports law at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP in Columbus, Ohio.
One policy that’s clear across states that allow NIL: Paid activities cannot be affiliated with the student-athlete’s high school.
For rules that are less clear, Fedlam, who’s also a co-managing partner at NIL consulting and education company Advance, suggests finding a qualified, independent third-party resource to interpret rule books, contracts and related documents. An attorney is a good place to start.
Also see: Alabama football coach Nick Saban accuses other schools of ‘buying’ players with name, image and likeness deals
Be honest and authentic
Quid pro quo between the student-athlete and the company they’re working for is a core tenet of these arrangements, says Fedlam.
It means the student has to make good on the service he or she has agreed to be paid for. If the contract states they’ll make five social media posts a month to promote …….