Name, image, likeness being considered for high school athletes in Ohio

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Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools are scheduled to vote on a student-athlete name, image and likeness (NIL) proposal during the annual referendum voting period May 1-16.

The OHSAA announced Tuesday member high school principals will vote on 14 potential changes to the constitution and bylaws of the state’s high school sports governing body. Issue 12B is a name, image and likeness proposal that mirrors changes made at the collegiate level.

This proposed addition would allow student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or OHSAA logo are not used and provided there are no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics such as casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

This referendum issue, along with others involving educational-based athletics, will be presented to school administrators at six upcoming meetings this month starting Wednesday in Athens.

OHSAA’s 817 member high school principals will vote electronically on the 14 proposals beginning May 1 and ending at 4 p.m. May 16. If approved, all items become effective Aug. 1 unless otherwise noted. A simple majority is needed to pass an item.

Eight high school state associations permit NIL in its regulations, according to Opendorse, a Nebraska-based NIL company that provides technology to the athlete endorsement industry.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) does not officially keep a list of state associations that permit or don’t permit NIL in their handbooks. However, plenty of state associations have formed opinions about how NIL may impact high school sports.

The NCAA adopted a name, image and likeness policy July 1, 2021, for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports.

The topic of NIL has been consistently discussed in NCAA sports in the past year and it has reportedly already impacted college football recruiting in the 2023 class.

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