XENIA — Local high school student-athletes could soon be allowed to benefit with endorsements from their name, image, and likeness.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Tuesday the issue will be voted on during the May referendum voting period
Athletes would be permitted to enter agreements for commercial purposes as long as they do not utilize the name, logos, mascots, trademarks, or other proprietary properties of any OHSAA school team, OHSAA school, or the OHSAA during any promotions and also do not engage in any NIL marketing/endorsements during “official team activities.” The promotion may also not involve any relation to casinos, gambling, alcohol, drug or tobacco use.
The NIL bylaw’s language mirrors what has been introduced in the state of New York’s NYSPHSAA and at the NCAA collegiate level.
Local school administrators are being encouraged to attend a presentation regarding the potential changes during the local Athletic Discussion Meeting on April 20 in Clayton.
Voting begins on May 1 and will continue electronically through May 16.
The issue has mixed reactions among local school administrators. Greene County Dailies received responses with no opinion due to not having looked into the idea of NIL at all yet.
Beavercreek athletic director Brad Pompos in a statement sent to Greene County Dailies said the school is awaiting more communication from the OHSAA on what the referendum issues will look like before making any determinations of opinion.
Some belief is also held the issue will not pass. Greeneview AD Mark Rinehart said it is his current guess his school will be voting against NIL measures.
“I believe we can already see the impact that the NIL has had on college athletics and I do not believe this should trickle down to the high school level considering we are educational athletic programs,” Rinehart said.
Charlie O’Dell, the AD at Bellbrook, wants to support the issue and thinks it will be coming at some point no matter how it much of an attempt to stop it is made over time.
He said he is also cognizant of the need to provide education on the subject to students should it be voted into existence.
“For college kids, we’re obviously worried about them making poor decisions with this stuff, and it’s even more of a concern with younger kids,” O’Dell said. “When there’s money to be made, there’s going to be people with bad intentions getting involved. And we got to figure out a way to protect the kids from that.”
NIL was introduced by the NCAA in July 2021 and is currently available for all incoming student-athletes once they have exhausted eligibility at the high school level.
A simple majority is only needed from the 817 Ohio member schools for any referendum to pass. It would go into effect Aug. 1 if the change is approved.
Other notable items in the 14 total issues which will be voted on include a referendum to permit a student enrolled at a member public high school that does not sponsor a team sport in which the student desires to participate to petition to play that sport at a public school located in a bordering public school district.
One proposed issue would modify the maximum threshold for awards and prizes to be increased to $500, and another would enable schools to allow student managers with intellectual or physical disabilities to participate in games one time without the school needing to verify aspects of eligibility.