Is NJSIAA going to let HS athletes make the money that college athletes can do now?

“Given this shift, and to ensure fairness to our student-athletes, NJSIAA staff believes that the Executive Committee should consider an amendment to the NJSIAA amateurism rule to allow student-athletes to engage in certain commercial activities in their individual capacities,” the proposal reads.

Story Highlights:

  • This proposal comes just months after the NCAA suspended its rule prohibiting college athletes from profiting off NIL and could dramatically change the landscape of high school athletics in New Jersey.

  • Under this proposal, high school athletes would be allowed to profit off their name, image and likeness — so long as there is no school or team involvement and the athletes are acting in an individual capacity.

“I have two high school student athletes,” NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire said, speaking of her daughters. “I can see what’s going on in their world and this is the reality. Whether I agree with it or not can be debated, but this is the reality. This proposal will provide opportunities to student athletes that are afforded to their peers that are not athletes.”

Under the proposal, athletes could be paid for “commercial endorsements, promotional activities, social media presence, product or service advertisements and non-fungible tokens (NFTs),” the proposal reads.

The proposal was informally introduced Wednesday and will be formally introduced next month. The NJSIAA is targeting a Jan. 1, 2022 effective date, Maguire said.

While this amendment would maintain the current prohibition of athletes being paid directly for their athletic performance, athletes could also be paid for “outside work,” described as coaching or instruction, as long as they don’t play for the team that hires them.

High school coaches, teachers and administrators would not be allowed to be involved with any athlete’s NIL, the proposal said.

“No one employed by a member school, including coaches and administrators, may be involved with a student-athlete’s use of their NIL,” the proposal said. There would be certain restrictions. Athletes would be banned from participating in any NIL activities that involve:

Adult entertainment products or servicesAlcohol productsCannabis productsControlled dangerous substancesPrescription pharmaceuticalsCasinos and gambling, including sports bettingWeapons, firearms and ammunition Under the NJSIAA’s current amateurism rule, “accepting pay or material remuneration for display of athletic ability,” is a violation of a high school athlete’s amateur status and may result in a loss of eligibility.

Under current rule, athletes competing for NJSIAA member schools are not allowed to appear on radio or television programming if the appearance is “related in any way to his/her athletic ability or prestige.” That prohibition would be abolished under this proposal. “Non-athletes are afforded opportunities that are not afforded to student athletes under the current rule,” the proposal said. “NJSIAA should consider allowing our student-athletes the same opportunities when not representing their school or team. By permitting NJSIAA student-athletes to engage in these activities in their individual capacity only, and not allowing any school or team involvement, competitive balance and team dynamics will be protected.”

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Brian Deakyne may be reached at bdeakyne@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianDeakyne. The N.J. High School Sports newsletter now appearing in mailboxes 5 days a week. Sign up now and be among the first to get all the boys and girls sports you care about, straight to your inbox each weekday. To add your name, click here.

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