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As NIL continues intrusion into high school sports, the landscape is changing as well

Jada Williams
Photo credit: Spalding

Every cause has an effect.

For Craig Young, father of Alabama Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, the formation of NIL has had a profound effect on his son and the sports world, both good and bad.

Young appeared on the LeverUp NIL Show and gave his opinion on NIL stating, “I feel that we live in a society where we compensate for the ability to have partnerships, for the ability to make money. “My [worry] was the cottage industry that can be manifest, by that where we’re having people who sometimes don’t have the athlete’s best interests at heart.”

While his son is making the most of his NIL at 21 years old thanks to complete compliance by the NCAA, high school sports are slower to adopt it.

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As of Aug. 31, 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, have fully allowed NIL in their state. Eleven states are currently appealing for it and 23 have prohibited the practice.

Among the major players who allow the practice is California, the first state that fully allowed high school athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

The state alone has seen top athletes like Bronny James, Mikey Williams and Nico Iamaleava sign substantial contracts. James, eldest son of LeBron James, signed with PSD underwear in April and released a signature line. Williams has recently inked deals with Puma and Cash App. Rumor has it that Iamaleava, one of the top quarterback recruits in 2023, is linked to a possible $8M endorsement deal.

RELATED: Pauldo sisters, high school basketball stars from NJ, ink NIL deal with Puma

While these players are much more of note, the vast majority of deals have been far more under the radar.’s Jeff Eisenberg wrote that in Minnesota, basketball player Jalen Langsy signed an endorsement deal with a local Vietnamese restaurant. Bayliss Flynn, a University of Montana soccer commit and goalkeeper for the USL’s Minnesota Aurora, became the first athlete in Minnesota to sign an NIL deal when she signed with TruStone Financial, one of her clubs biggest sponsors.

Other states such as Iowa, Nebraska, Louisiana and Kansas have legalized NIL, but many of the states where fans find the top collegiate football and basketball programs in the nation have prohibited it.

The majority of the Bible-belt region of the country — namely Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida — have banned NIL in their states.

According to the 247sports high school football and basketball top 50 recruit rankings, 37 football and 24 basketball recruits respectively hail from states actively appealing for NIL or have prohibited it altogether.

There is a group of some athletes who have gone at length to leave their state in order to pursue NIL.

Jada Williams is one of them.

Beginning at just 11-years-old, the guard was known as “Lil Bullet,” thanks to a variety of YouTube clips of her ball handling abilities that went viral.

Now a top-20 prospect in the Class of 2023, Williams found herself in a tough situation living in Missouri, one of those prohibition states.

After garnering a ton of social media attention, including interest from Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, Williams, unwilling to wait until college, packed her bags and moved with her mother to California.

The move was life-altering. In October 2021, Williams signed with Spalding and appeared alongside Damian Lillard in a commercial campaign. She inked deals with Dicks Sporting Goods and Gymshark. 

According to her advisor Marcus Crenshaw, founder of The Fam Sports Agency, Williams is making $200,000 yearly.

There are many involved in the NIL space who find that NIL has been a crux to sports. According to an ESPN survey previously reported by The NIL Deal, 80% of respondents among athletes, coaches and administrators believe NIL is creating a “black market,” both in recruiting and in the college transfer portal.

RELATED: Xamiya Walton becomes first high school athlete to sign NIL deal in Illinois

But much to the opinion of Craig Young, the overwhelming majority believe athletes deserve to be paid, and while there is a large chunk of high school athletic associations who have prohibited legalizing NIL, over half of states (27 total) have legalized, or are appealing for it.

NIL is still in its infancy, yet far too much has already occurred to imply the trend will die out anytime soon.

In this “new normal,” there have been multimillion dollar endorsement deals, the formation of collectives, and now new business opportunities such as NIL marketplaces through MOGL, Opendorse, and Barstool Sports. The NIL phenomenon in college sports has created a monster, with high school athletes entering the fray at a more gradual pace.

Whether that monster is good or bad is to be seen, but there is no denying the effect it’s had on the college sports landscape as it approaches its 18 month milestone.