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New Arkansas bill to allow high school athletes to monetize their NIL

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A new bill proposed in the Arkansas House of Representatives may open the door to some high school athletes monetizing their NIL.

House Bill 1649, introduced by House Speaker Matthew Shepherd on Thursday, looks to expand the state’s policy to include high school student-athletes who have signed a national letter of intent (NLI), have other written agreements to attend or those whose applications have been admitted to a college or university.

RELATED: Virginia becomes latest state to consider NIL at high school level

As per a tweet from SUNY Cortland sports law professor and NIL expert Dan Greene, the bill also seeks to allow “supporting foundations” to create, facilitate, negotiate and enable opportunities for student-athletes to earn compensation. Other proposed changes in House Bill 1649 include:

  • Removal the right for an athlete to rescind a contract if they are no longer enrolled at an institution or participating in their athletic programs
  • An inclusion to allow institutions and its supporting foundations a cause of action against those who use NIL as an inducement

“From my perspective, I’d rather [prefer] that we didn’t have to go down this road, but the fact of the matter is that’s the environment in which we live, that’s the world in which we live,” Shepherd told reporters during a news conference following Thursday’s House meeting. “So it’s important that our laws are keeping up with what’s going on across the country.”

“It’s an evolving world,” Shepherd added. “A few months ago there were only a few states that had high school NIL; now there’s 20-plus states that have it. I think when we think about high school athletics, it only makes sense to be far more deliberate.”

RELATED: Texas introduces new bill, may be next domino to fall in the hunt for NIL at high school level

To date, 26 states, including the District of Columbia have allowed NIL at the high school level.

Currently, according to the Arkansas Activities Association’s handbook, high school athletes may not accept gifts or compensation for “permitting his/her name, picture, or person to be used to advertise, promote or recommend a product, service, commercial venture or political venture.”