Mississippi has joined a small, yet impactful list of Southeastern states that will not change their current name, image and likeness regulations, per Ricky Neaves, executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
“We are not approving it at any level. We feel like high school students are amateur athletes. We do not want to jeopardize their amateur status in any sport. We will leave that to the colleges. They’re too young to be making decisions like that,” said Neaves to the Star Herald.
The MHSAA has stayed strong alongside Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina as states that are unwilling to discuss changing their current NIL regulations in the region. North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas have had preliminary conversations on law changes, but there is no timetable for any of these states at the moment.
Currently, there are 15 states that do allow for high school student-athletes to receive NIL sponsorships; Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Utah and Louisiana, the only Southeastern state in the bunch.
In Louisiana, the LHSAA has taken a different approach to athletes and their families by versing them in all things NIL: “As an education-based association, I think it is imperative that everyone associated with high school athletics in Louisiana is properly educated and informed on Name, Image, and Likeness. There is a lot to NIL and it’s a moving target that we need to stay on top of,” said Eddie Bonine, Executive Director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.
High school football powerhouse states such as Pennsylvania have taken steps in the pro-NIL direction, so it is quite possible that those on the fence in the Southeast will follow along in the interest of their homegrown, budding talent.