DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – High school athletes across Ohio could soon be able to get paid for their name, image and likeness. The proposal from the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) follows suit after legislation was passed to allow endorsements at the collegiate level.
A total of 817 of OHSAA’s member high school principals across the state will have the opportunity to vote to either allow high school athletes to have endorsements or not. A total of 14 proposals will be voted on including Issue 12B addressing the name, image and likeness proposal.
“I hope that we would choose to get out in front of this and be a part of the process, provide the education and leadership for parents and kids to make really good choices,” said Centerville High School Athletic Director Rob Dement.
While the opportunity may give some students a great advantage to start their athletic careers, some athletic directors say they have concerns.
“It could be disastrous for some, but at this point, there’s no stopping it, it’s an avalanche,” said Bellbrook High School Athletic Director Charlie O’Dell. “It took the NCAA by surprise in many regards and we don’t want to be caught flat-footed.”
This proposed addition would allow student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and OHSAA logos are not used. Endorsements that don’t support education-based athletics are prohibited such as casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
The NCAA adopted a name, image and likeness policy on July 1, 2021, for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports, and Senator Niraj Atani spearheaded that bill.
“It’s no different than a child actor but just because they’re a minor shouldn’t stop them from using their name, image and likeness,” said Sen. Atani.
Some athletic directors favor having parents involved in the process to ensure the student’s best interests are kept in mind.
“This is going to open a little of an opportunity for those who don’t have the best interest for kids at heart to have a chance to weasel in there and try to make money off the kids,” said Dement. “We can help them through this and make sure this is a positive thing and not a negative thing.”
Voting will start on May 1 and end on May 16. If the majority approves it, all items will become effective on August 1.