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OHSAA to consider NIL proposal for athletes | News, Sports, Jobs – Warren Tribune Chronicle

by Arifa Rana

Apr 19, 2022
Last July, the National Collegiate Athletic Association officially changed its rules prohibiting college athletes from receiving benefits from their name, image and likeness. A large number of prominent athletes immediately benefited financially from the policy change.
Now, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is considering a similar change which would provide similar financial opportunities for the state’s high school student-athletes.
Next month, the 817 member schools of the OHSAA will vote on a proposal which — if passed — would permit high school athletes to earn money through endorsements by way of their NIL. The proposal would amend a current OHSAA bylaw which currently prohibits an athlete from being paid for their NIL.
Currently, high school athletic associations in eight states permit some form of NIL for their student-athletes.
Locally, the proposal is receiving negative reviews from athletic directors and coaches.
“I understand it to a degree at the college level, even though I don’t agree with it,” said Warren City Schools athletic director Bill Nicholson. “I definitely don’t agree with having it at the high school level. Honestly, I can’t even believe we’re bringing this into consideration.
“I’m old-school, I just think you play for the love of the game at the high school level. I just don’t see any good coming from this.”
Nicholson noted that a year into the college NIL agreement, there are already signs that “the rich are getting richer and the poor are falling even further behind.”
“You look at all of the corporate businesses in Columbus that can throw money to Ohio State athletes, then you compare that to a town like Starkville, Mississippi, how can the smaller schools compete,” Nicholson said. “Do we really want to have those same headaches at the high school level?
“College sports is big business, I get that. For nearly every high school in Ohio, we’re very lucky if our sports program breaks even.”
Poland athletic director Brian Banfield echoed the comments made by Nicholson, asking, “Why are we even going down this route, what good can come from it?”
Banfield wonders how NIL would be policed, and also questions the possible repercussions.
“You might have eighth graders choosing a high school based on a possible payout from a business,” Banfield said. “I mean, where does NIL cross the line to recruiting? It opens up such a huge can of worms.
“In reality this would impact probably less than one percent of our athletes. Is it worth the possibility of losing the purity of high school sports? And then what’s next? Parents demanding playing time based on an NIL deal? A transfer portal? We just need to draw a line before things get out of hand.”
Like Banfield, Canfield football coach Mike Pavlansky also asks the question, “Why is this even being proposed?” He worries that NIL would take high school athletics “down a very slippery slope” but is convinced the current referendum will be met with swift rejection.
“Since this first surfaced a month ago, I’ve spoken to a number of high school coaches and administrators and I haven’t come across anyone who is in favor of this proposal,” Pavlansky said. “It’s just difficult to find any positives.
“Even at the college level I think it has created a lot of problems and it’s not as controlled as they had hoped it would be. Why bring those headaches to sports played by teenagers.”
Brookfield football coach Randy Clark called the proposal “ludicrous.” He believes there are more pressing issues which should be the focus of the OHSAA.
“We’re so far behind other states, it isn’t funny,” Clark said. “From spring football to the number of days we’re allowed to be with our kids during summer, we have a lot of things that need to be addressed. Why focus on this?
“Heck, coaches make next to nothing. Should we be allowed to benefit from NIL?”
Clark worries that if passed, NIL could open the door for football programs to succeed based on a district’s business environment.
“I mean, what does Brookfield have, a towing company that can offer a kid a few bucks,” Clark said. “Cities like Niles and Youngstown have multiple corporate businesses that might entice athletes. I’m not saying it will happen, but just the prospect might lure a kid to another district.
“Do we really want high school athletics going in that direction?”
OHSAA member schools will vote electronically on the NIL proposal beginning May 1 and ending May 16. A simple majority is needed to pass the proposal. This proposal would allow student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA are not being represented within those endorsements and provided there are no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics (casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs, tobacco).
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