DES MOINES, Iowa — High school sports in Iowa are more than X’s and O’s on a drawing board. Now student athletes can use Name, Image and Likeness to make some dollars.
“The genie is out of the bottle. There is no putting it back,” said Iowa High School Athletics Association executive director Tom Keating.
“High school students have always been allowed to make money. They just can’t make it based on their skill. So they can’t say for every free throw I make I get this much money.”
Ankeny High School head football coach Rick Nelson was still learning about the move as practice ended.
“I think the sport is a beautiful sport. I think all kids in athletics are special. The hard work they put in, but I don’t know should they be paid? I don’t know. I guess I’m kind of torn,” Nelson said.
The Hawks boast two of the states top recruits.
“Kids have an opportunity to do this. They have a right to do it,” said Keating.
Quarterback J.J. Kohl and athlete Jamison Patton are both committed to play football at Iowa State University next fall. Patton said, “I think it is a great opportunity. You are going to have to put your standards in place and priorities and set straight what you want and not let it get too big in your head.”
There are strict guidelines and athletes are not allowed to accept money from boosters. Athletes are not allowed to accept money from boosters, endorse tobacco, alcohol, adult entertainment or weapons. They are also prohibited from incorporating school logos, mascots or school buildings in advertisements.
“This is meant for them. For them to find the opportunity to profit from their own Name, Image and Likeness but not profit from their schools reputation or school success,” said Keating. “Find legal counsel, find a tax attorney and make sure you check in with the organization that oversees whatever college you are thinking of going to, because we don’t want them to jeopardize themselves.”
N.I.L. opens up a new lane for Iowa’s high school athletes. While the road remains uncertain, some of the state’s top recruits say it should never derail the ultimate deal they’ve already made with their teammates.
“Honestly at the end of day if you don’t produce there won’t be an N.I.L. deal so most importantly going out there and showing what you can on Friday nights,” Kohl said.
Patton added, “I’m set on a state championship and getting better with my brothers this is just a good tag along.”
For some the bright lights may have become a bit more eye opening. Nelson said, “I don’t know, I still think it is going to be tough for some of the schools to compete. It is just gonna be the rich keep getting richer.”