The confusion regarding High School NIL regulations continues with new & revised state legislation!

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Usually when someone asks me about High School Name, Image, and Likeness, their first question goes like this..."Is that permitted in our state or is it prohibited?"

To which the answer is usually (but not always), pretty easy when you consider the guidelines from their respective state athletic association.

But now there's a new question arising, one which requires a bit more clarification, and in my opinion, will become more common moving forward.

Is it permitted (even if it's prohibited by the state athletic association), if a student-athlete signs a letter of intent with a school in their respective state?

What does that even mean? Please Help!!

If you’ve been following the NIL movement at the college and high school level lately, you may have seen a push from many states to create laws that are in direct objection to NCAA policies, almost as if they’re finding ways to limit the NCAA oversight within their respective states.

States that have passed this legislation now allow colleges and universities within state boundaries to take a more active approach in supporting their student-athletes and the NIL monetization process.



At the collegiate level, a revised NIL law in Missouri allows coaches and school officials to:“identify or otherwise assist with opportunities for a student athlete to earn compensation from a third party for the use of the student athlete’s name, image, likeness rights.” 

As reported by St. Louis Post-Dispatch in early May, “Tuesday’s amendment further expands coaches’ roles in the NIL process and gives them a seat at the NIL negotiating table.

The amendment allows coaches and school officials to “identify, create, facilitate, negotiate, support, enable, or otherwise assist” with those NIL opportunities for college athletes. Under the state’s initial NIL law, coaches and school employees were prohibited from interacting with NIL third-party entities or booster-led companies known commonly as NIL collectives.”

You can read the full article here:

As this type of legislation continues to pick up speed the trickle down effect to HS will become more prevalent, because if we’re being honest, when you consider what protections / opportunities these are providing colleges within their respective states, I firmly believe most states will work to propose / implement something similar to ensure they're not "falling behind" other states in regards to recruiting!

Interestingly though, and the main focus here, is on one of the unique elements within these laws related to High School student-athletes and NIL that makes a unique impact, especially in states where NIL is not permitted.

For example, in the state of Missouri, NIL monetization at this point is not permitted by the Missouri High School Athletic Association for student-athletes at the High School level.



But the new revised Missouri NIL law includes something that causes a bit of a disruption to the state association policy... 

As stated in an article by @jeremycrabtree from On3,

“Missouri high school athletes can now discuss potential NIL compensation before they sign an athletic letter of intent with an in-state college and earn NIL compensation after signing their letter of intent — months before stepping foot on a college campus.

That means in-state high school basketball recruits can begin earning NIL money when they sign with an in-state school as early as November of their senior year during the early signing period. Football prospects can sign as early as December of their senior year.”

Read through that again. 

For many high school administrators I’ve talked to their initial question has been, “So a student-athlete who officially signs to play at an institution out of state can't monetize their NIL, but if they sign with a school in state, they can?”

Yes, that’s exactly what it’s saying.

“Well wouldn’t that be enrollment inducement?”

Yes, but, not by the institution, but rather, by the state government. And when this passes in that state, it’s game on.

NIL expert Lawyer Mit Winter (@WinterSportsLaw) stated in the interview with On3 that,

“It’s a huge deal for universities when they’re recruiting kids, especially in their home state.

Missouri obviously has a lot of talented high school athletes that in the past have gone to other schools. So, Missouri would obviously like to do what they can to keep those athletes in the state of Missouri.”

You can read more about the specific Missouri overview here:

So what can state high school associations that don’t yet permit NIL activities do in states that pass this type of legislation?

That’s yet to be seen, and to be honest, not much when it becomes part of the state law.

But, in states that have these types of inclusions (or will soon have them), there must be an intense level of care in considering what this means in regards to the state high school athletic association regulations, and the process in which they must follow to ensure they’re checking the appropriate boxes.

Additionally, it continues to bring to the forefront the need for each school to build their own respective educational plans to ensure their stakeholders are provided the resources necessary to move forward in whatever path they choose to go.

As we’ve all started to realize after nearly two years of NIL being part of the college & high school environment, you can’t “assume” anything…

Keep asking questions, and cut through the clutter to understand what truly is happening and how this may impact your specific school and situation. And if you want to learn a bit more, I'd encourage you to get a copy of the "NIL Prep Kit", ( a one of a kind High School NIL educational focused resource developed to help schools, coaches, families, student-athletes, and anyone else interested in understanding this space further.

As always, here to help in any way!

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