Georgia High School Association passes guideline changes for NIL deals

The GHSA executive committee passed the policy in Macon on Monday in a 65-10 vote. It went into effect on Monday as well.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 11:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has been a hot button issue in college sports for years.

Monday, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) passed guideline changes for NIL deals for even younger students. Previously, high school athletes in Georgia could not accept physical or monetary gifts, but with this new policy, that has changed. It does come with strict guidelines to follow, though.

“A lot of times, most athletes don’t have jobs because their job is their sport,” Jeff Battles, Muscogee County School District Director of Athletics and GHSA executive committee member, said.

The GHSA executive committee passed the policy in Macon on Monday in a 65-10 vote. It went into effect on Monday as well.

Battles explains there are strict rules each school must follow, including not wearing paraphernalia with their school’s name on it in opportunities.

Battles gave an example of an opportunity that a college athlete has pursued, and now a Georgia high school athlete, could pursue as well: “There was a BBQ place in the college town, and they went and sponsored the whole offensive line of a school, and they were paid to be in that commercial.”

Columbus Attorney Ben Finley with The Finley Firm said he has worked with athletes on the issue for decades. He explained how the new guidelines will benefit high school athletes.

“There are only 1,696 people on earth that play in the National Football League,” said Finley. “The statistics are not there. If you make it, statistics show that your career lasts about two and a half years. We tell kids that’s not a career, that’s an opportunity to do something you love when you’re young.”

Finley said he encourages kids to invest in Roth IRAs or rental properties, for example, while in college.

Georgia is now the 33rd state to allow high school students to participate in NIL without losing eligibility. That’s not the case in Alabama.

“Columbus and Phenix City are something of an epicenter for athletes and talent, and it’s always been that way,” said Finley. “In fact, of the last six National Championship winners in football, at least one of those teams has had a kid from Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama.”

Finley said he expects more states to pass similar guidelines in the near future.

Count on News Leader 9 to keep you updated.