Georgia’s Decision Could Create Southern ‘Domino Effect’ of NIL Rights for High Schoolers

by Riley Overend 4

October 01st, 2023 High School, News

More than two years into the era of name, image, and likeness (NIL) at the college level, high school athletes are continuing to gain more publicity rights across the country.

Georgia is reportedly expected to become the 32nd state to allow high school athletes to monetize their NIL on Monday. Only 19 states had approved publicity rights for high school athletes as of last October — now only 18 states are holding out.

Georgia’s decision is significant because it could create a domino effect among other Southern states, according to NIL expert Dan Greene. Alabama, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and South Carolina are the remaining anti-NIL states in SEC territory.

“If approved, I believe this will create a domino effect with other southern high school associations approving NIL sooner rather than later,” Greene told On3 on Friday.

Georgia has 46 four- or five-star football recruits in the high school class of 2024. In the class of 2026, USC quarterback commit Julian “JuJu” Lewis boasts 130,000 Instagram followers and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s money issue last month.

“JuJu is probably the reason that NIL is being looked at hard in Georgia because I don’t care who you are, and what side of the fence you’re on, you got to look at this at some point as a parent and know that young man could have major opportunities,” said On3’s Rusty Mansell.

NIL Monetization Is Allowed In:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas*
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia*
  • Idaho
  • Illinois*
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky*
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri*
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire*
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico*
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania*
  • Rhode Island*
  • Tennessee*
  • Utah
  • Vermont*
  • Virginia*
  • Washington*

*new additions to this list in the past year

NIL Monetization Is Prohibited In:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

As we explored last October, lucrative deals for football and men’s basketball players tend to dominate the headlines, but the issue of NIL affects all high school sports. Take Claire Curzan, for example, who had to choose between endorsement opportunities and swimming for her high school team last season as a senior because of North Carolina’s restrictions. Curzan’s Tokyo Olympic teammates, Bella Sims and Katie Grimes, hardly got a choice at all as they were deemed ineligible in Nevada for accepting funds from USA Swimming.

“It is hard to decide on getting an education versus making a living,” said Curzan’s mother, Tracy, who played soccer and lacrosse at Harvard. “If you’ve got a gift, you shouldn’t have to choose between an education and that … (NIL) just opened up all these new avenues.”

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2 months ago

The NIL system is far from perfect, especially in matters of equity and fairness in sport. There’s no doubt that kids with greater access to technology and professional “branding” will dominate any earning potential kids have at that age.

But the reality is it’s increasingly expensive to raise an athlete. For some parents and certain sports, it’s a 6-figure commitment over the 8-10 years of club participation, travel, etc. And for a sport like swimming there’s no professional league or seven figure payday waiting at the end of the rainbow. There’s just that extremely remote chance that you finish top two at an Olympic trials…and the small window of an event that only happens every 4 years.

Cynthia curran
2 months ago

Not swimiing but what about Football or Basksetball, if you can make money off your image in high shcool. Wiuld football players or basketball players do college sports. In fact the funny thing is states like Calfiornai that accept you making money off your image probit working at Mdonalds at 10:00 P.M at nigt if you are 16 years old. Should th Football and Basketball players have advantage over making money compared to a poor kid that is not good at sports in high school and wants to work at nite unitl 10:00 instead of the current child labor law in most states which is 9:00 P.M.

Reply to  Cynthia curran
2 months ago

We’ve already accepted in capitalism that people are able to profit from their innate talents and birthright privileges.

We’ve had 16-year-olds work at SwimSwam, but there aren’t many 16-year-olds who could pull that off.

Reply to  Cynthia curran
2 months ago

Yes, they would continue to play college sports. Olympians absolutely crushing typical high school kids isn’t going to “build the brand” for very long.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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