The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday that it has revised its rule regarding amateur athletes in New York, and that they are now allowed to benefit from their name, image and/or likeness.
As reported by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, the NYSPHSAA said in a statement that student-athletes can “participate in commercial endorsements provided there is no school team, school, section or NYSPHSAA affiliation.”
That means student-athletes who secure endorsements are not allowed to appear in the uniform of their school for the endorsement. Moreover, logos or identification of the school, section or NYSPHSAA cannot be part of any endorsement.
Since the NCAA began allowing college athletes to cash in on their NIL rights July 1, the NYSPHSAA decided to take a look at its amateur rule that has existed since 1980, ultimately approving changes in its wording. And while no known endorsements involving high school athletes currently exist, the association wanted to "get in front of this" and "be proactive instead of reactive," according to NYSPHSAA spokesperson Chris Watson.
"The need was to do it before it became an issue for a student-athlete," Watson said, as reported by the Democrat and Chronicle. "Don't have a student-athlete have an opportunity to endorse, but then have an issue with their eligibility because the rule hadn’t been looked at."
NYSPHSAA includes an acknowledgement that the organization is not able to prevent a student-athlete from receiving endorsements, gifts, money or financial backing in general, but anyone who wants to play the 32 sports endorsed by NYSPHSAA has to do so by the organization's rules.
NYSPHSAA Section V executive director Kathy Hoyt said the association got "ahead of the 8-ball" with its adjustments to the outdated amateur rule.
"At this point we haven't had to deal with it. But now that we have the adjustment to the amateur rule it's very clear that a student involved with one of our programs, if they were to ever sign a contract, they can do it, but not in affiliation with their school, section or state," Hoyt said.
Canandaigua Academy athletic director Jim Simmons told the Democrat and Chronicle that he doesn't expect a sudden wave of high school NIL deals.
"I'm not sure there would be a demand but I could be wrong," he said. "Maybe for a state wrestling champ or the quarterback of a football team that's a state champion. But you'd have to be pretty well-known to make it worthwhile.
"Maybe a local business, a car dealer or a restaurant. But again, it would have to be somebody who is high profile, someone who set a big record or did something really unique."