Butler High School junior Xamiya Walton, who is holding 20 college scholarship offers, received an NIL sponsorship from Shoot-A-Way, the creators of a popular basketball product that allows players to practice their shot without needing to rebound.
It took months of working out compensation, back and forth communication, and how to work around NIL laws in the state of Illinois. Now, Walton is the first high school student-athlete to have any type of name, image and likeness sponsorship on top of a brand new Shoot-A-Way machine to use, that Walton stated is part of her daily routine.
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“Those challenges of still, of course, maintaining the amateur aspect of high school athletics, but yet recognizing that students, much like they would go get a summer job and try to make money, that we as an association and member schools maybe shouldn’t be hindering students’ opportunities to make money,” said Illinois High School Association executive director Craig Anderson about allowing Illinois high schoolers to make money on their name, image and likeness.
With NIL laws being a very recent change in the state, Walton was quick to make a deal happen with a company that she believes has bettered he basketball abilities.
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“I think that since there’s so many brands and there’s so many athletes, I think that anybody would be willing to give kids my age, younger or older, an opportunity to make a deal with a brand,” said Walton to Fox 32 Chicago.
The No. 2 girls basketball player in the state will have plenty more time to build on her legacy at Butler High School on and off the court, with the barrier now broken for all high school athletes in the state of Illinois. Walton has consistently averaged over 20 points a game through two years and looks to continue with two years of eligibility left.