COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – In October the Georgia High School Association moved forward with new rules to allow high school athletes to make money from their Name, Image, and Likeness or NIL.

NIL deals have turned college athletes into millionaires. WRBL’s Kenzie Beach spoke with a local lawyer who says the impact on high schoolers could be a little different.

Georgia is the 30th state to allow NIL deals. As this develops we can expect to see high school athletes in our area sign more than letters of intent to big-name colleges.

Columbus Attorney, Ben Finley says there are more questions than answers when it comes to Name, Image, and likeness at the high school level, mostly due to the age of high school athletes.

“When you are dealing with high school athletes you’re dealing with minors. Most college kids are 18 or older where they are adults under the law so this will involve a lot more parental involvement.”

Ben Finley, The Finley Firm

In the U.S. Supreme Court Case, Alston v. The NCAA the Supreme Court determined college athletes could be paid for their name, image, and likeness. Now high School Athletes from all walks of life have the same opportunity.

“It allows the athlete to leverage their success on the field into financial opportunities.”

Ben Finley, The Finley Firm

But with large contracts comes, concerns.

“We’re dealing with teenagers and children that aren’t aware of the dangers and pitfalls of signing a contract. It’s a cautionary tale in markets like this, particularly when you are dealing with vulnerable kids and athletes.”

Ben Finley, The Finley Firm

If used the right way, student athletes have an opportunity to grow more than their athletic career.

“Given those opportunities, you could graduate from college, have a degree from a great university, be debt free and have a portfolio of six figures. By the time you get out of college your ahead of 99% of the world.”

Ben Finley, The Finley Firm

Athletic careers are not forever, but now these student-athletes have the opportunity to build something that may last longer than their time on the field.

See below for the guidelines per GHSA:

The GHSA does not specifically prohibit students from engaging in certain commercial activities as individuals. These activities, commonly referred to as name, image and likeness (NIL), will not put a student’s amateur status at risk provided the student meets all the requirements for maintaining amateur status in compliance with GHSA by-law 1.92-c and providing there is no violation of by-laws prohibiting influencing a student to attend or remain at a member school under GHSA by-law 1.70 (Recruiting/Undue Influence/Following The Coach).

A student-athlete may benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL) in compliance with GHSA by-law 1.92-c provided:
l The compensation is not contingent on specific athletic performance or achievement.
l The compensation is not provided as a incentive to enroll or remain enrolled at a specific school.
l The compensation is not provided by the school or any person acting as an agent for the school.
The following guidelines are in effect for NIL activities:
l Intellectual property – No “marks” may be used including, but not limited to, school logos,
school name, school uniforms, school mascot, or any trademarked GHSA logo or acronyms.
l No school apparel or equipment shall be worn, which includes school name, school uniforms,
school logo, school mascot or any apparel displaying trademarked GHSA logos or acronyms.
l No member school facility may be used for the purpose of name, image and likeness activities.
l No activities in conflict with a member school’s local school district policy may be endorsed.
(Examples include, but are not limited to, tobacco products, alcohol products and controlled substances.)
l Students and their families should seek professional guidance as to how NIL activities could
impact collegiate financial aid and/or tax implications, among other issues.
l Within seven (7) calendar days after entering into any type of NIL contract/agreement, a student, or the student’s parents/guardians, must notify the Principal or Athletic Director of the student’s school of entering into that agreement.