AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- You’ve seen the NIL come into the college environment, but now you’re going to see it at the high school level.
The Georgia High School Association has announced new guidelines regarding name, image, and likeness after Monday’s meeting.
In a 66-9 vote, a motion was passed for athletes to “capitalize on performance by receiving money or gifts with monetary value.”
While this is drawing mixed reactions from the community, some are optimistic about what is to come.
“I think it’s gonna be okay with the checkpoints that GHSA has put in place. Our schools do a good job of following GHSA guidelines and mandates,” said Columbia County Director of Athletics and Student Activities Chris Hughes.
Parents such as Keith Evangelista have seen his sons Ethan and Elijah play football since they were 8.
They are both seniors who play for the Harlem football team, which has had an impressive start to the 2023 season after losing more than 20 seniors from last year’s team.
He says while this could bring financial gain to those struggling, it could also divide a team that’s supposed to be together.
“When you include money in anything, egos start going. You got somebody that’s on the team, and they get a $5,000 NIL deal–I mean his head’s gonna be all blown up, him or she,” said Evangelista.
At the end of the day, parents like Evangelista say they hope these new guidelines don’t interfere with the way it was meant to be.
“I just hope that it doesn’t take away from what the sport meant to be, in that was to go out there, have fun, enjoy it. Especially in high school, it’s surreal for these kids. My boys are seniors, and they can’t get back what they had yesterday, none of us can,” said Evangelista.
“Georgia High School League has put together so many checkpoints and so many mandates to make sure that nothing’s going to happen egregiously in our area or the state of Georgia. So I don’t see anything negative coming out of this,” said Hughes.
According to Hughes, Columbia County has had discussions about this already, and the district is “cautiously optimistic” about how this will impact high school athletes in the county.
While the information is still fresh, McDuffie and Burke County schools will have discussions over the next few days about the guidelines and plans moving forward.
Other school districts we reached out to were not ready to comment on the guidelines at this time.
The policy from GHSA is effective immediately.