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Virginia becomes latest state to consider NIL at high school level

Photo credit: VHSL

A proposal was submitted at a recent Virginia High School League executive committee meeting that would allow high school student-athletes in the state to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

To become an official policy, a two-thirds vote will be required at the next meeting. If the vote passes this threshold, the NIL policy would become effective on July 1. The proposal states:

“No school or anyone employed by or affiliated with a member school, including booster clubs, coaches, administrators, alumni or a NIL collective, may solicit, arrange, or negotiate or pay for a student’s NIL, other than their own child.”

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

As of this writing, 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to allow NIL for high school athletes. 

Dan Greene, a licensed attorney and sports law expert based in Syracuse, believes moves made by other states are putting pressure on holdout states like Virginia.

“As more state high school athletic associations change their bylaws to permit NIL, more pressure is placed on those associations that have either not addressed the issue or have been hesitant to adapt to the changing landscape of high school athletics,” Greene told The NIL Deal.

Greene also pointed out the interesting timing of the Virginia proposal. Approximately this time last year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed a bill that would have prohibited NIL for high schoolers in the state.

While the new proposal seems promising, Greene pointed out an interesting choice of language in the writing. 

“While this proposal by the VHSL is similar to the policies of many other associations that permit NIL, this one is interesting since it specifically prohibits ‘NIL collectives’ and alumni from soliciting, arranging or negotiating or paying for a student’s name, image or likeness, except for their own child,” Greene explained. “The VHSL’s inclusion of alumni in this prohibition may be problematic since it is likely that alumni of a certain high school would be the most likely people to seek NIL deals with the athletes of that school, which is exactly the same as many of the local deals we’ve seen at the college level.”

RELATED: Georgia HS Athletic Association hints at NIL policy change: ‘Should be prepared’ in near future

Under that wording, a small business owner who graduated from the local high school would be unable to sponsor the athletes at that school. 

“Also, what if there is a town in Virginia with two pizza places, John’s Pizza and Paul’s Pizza, that want to enter into a NIL deal with a local high school athlete, but John is an alum of that high school? Would it be fair that Paul could do a NIL deal but John could not?” Greene asked.

It seems that some clarification should be in order before the next steps are taken. Greene suggests amending or removing the prohibition on alumni.