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Oklahoma may adopt NIL in high schools for student-athletes

Photo credit: The Oklahoman

Oklahoma may be allowing NIL at the high school level.

Per a press release from the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, the board of directors said that in understanding that NIL is slowly working its way into the high school level. The OSSAA has focused its attention toward an NIL strategy for its member schools and athletes.

Assisting them in their mission is Eccker Sports, an education company who worked alongside the Louisiana High School Athletic Association when they pursued an NIL policy.

OSSAA executive director David Jackson spoke on how their involvement has been so far.

“We had that group come visit our staff, and had a really good meeting,” Jackson said about Eccker Sports. “We’re still in the process of working with them. They took our amateur rule and are taking a look to see if anything needs to change with what we have in place now.”

NIL is currently prohibited for student-athletes, and the only sanctioned money players can receive is through scholarships by colleges and universities, however, the OSSAA rules imply a possible loophole.

“Our amateur rule is distinct in that you don’t violate it unless you’re compensated for participating in an activity that you’re participating with us,” Jackson said. “You can’t be compensated for playing golf, for instance.”

Regardless of the potential loophole, there is still concern over accepting NIL payments and staying eligible. OSSAA associate director Mike Whaley told The Tulsa World that they aren’t interested in changing state law.

“Our staff and the board are interested in trying to make sure we’ve got something in place so that folks interested in NIL can feel like they’re doing it appropriately and can maintain their eligibility within the OSSAA membership schools,” Whaley said.

Both Jackson and Whaley have not committed to a date as to when rule changes would be implemented with Whaley saying that since there is no prior policy in the state, they’ll need to grow with Eccker and watch what others do.

To date, only 14 states are allowing athletes to benefit from NIL. Additionally, seven states changed their bylaws in 2022, and are still on the process and feeling out the situation before making any revision, a step the OSSAA finds crucial before introducing their NIL policy.