CLEVELAND (WJW)– As a part of its annual referendum to make changes to the organizations bylaws, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is asking its 817 member schools if high school athletes should be able to be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness in promotions or commercials.
“When NIL came into existence at the college level, of course, now we see that and a lot of people see college athletes receiving money and endorsing products. On their social media is the most common thing that we see,” said Tim Stried, of the OHSAA,
“There are a number of states that already allow that on the high school level, as well there are some states that are fighting that they are in their state supreme court fighting that. So in Ohio, we have decided to allow our member schools to vote on that,” he said.
The change would not allow high school athletes to use images of their school or the OHSAA in any capacity for which they would be compensated. It would also not allow them to endorse or promote things like alcohol, drugs, or gambling, which are not viewed as compatible with the ideals related to high school athletics.
The OHSAA said it believes the schools need to decide before a court makes the decision for them.
“If we don’t get their input, we are going to have a court case in Ohio at some point. And it’s probably going to be soon and in other states, that has not gone well,” Streid said.
Stried said by asking the question, OHSAA is not endorsing the referendum, telling FOX 8 that the organization is aware of some of the “unintended consequences” from the same policy at the collegiate level
FOX 8 News reached out to more than a dozen area athletic directors to hear what they like and do not like about the idea of high school students being compensated for their name, image or likeness.
Twinsburg City School District athletic director Brian Fantone said he has concerns.
“I’m not sure that its in the best interest of high school athletics overall right now,” Fantone said. “I really do worry about a lot of the issues that it will pose for a lot of high schools in Ohio, particularly public schools in Ohio.”
He and Bo Kuntz, the athletic director for North Royalton City Schools, both expressed concerns about the impact that larger schools with large contributors could have on public schools.
“I do think when you have that carrot thats out there for kids and their families, I do think it’s another thing working against a public school district maybe who doesn’t have those big name donors the way that some of the private schools or parochial schools do,” Fantone said.
“Recruiting for athletic purposes is not permitted at the high school level, say that first and foremost regardless of how this referendum plays out, that is not permitted at all,” Stried said.
The vote will be tallied in early May and if it is approved, it will become effective in August.