For the first time, college athletes can profit off their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and this new ruling has already trickled down into the high school ranks.
High school standout athletes Quinn Ewers and Mikey Williams are already looking to profit off their talent – which will undoubtedly bring NIL laws at the high school realm to the forefront.
Five-star basketball recruit 17-year-old Mikey Williams has already signed a deal with a sports management firm to handle the marketing of his name, image, and likeness.
— PBA (@pbaconnect) August 1, 2021
Excel Sports Management announced the signing last Thursday. Williams played last season at Lake Norman Christian high school in Huntersville, North Carolina. He currently attends Lake Normal Christian in Huntersville, North Carolina – but plays basketball for Vertical Academy, a private school not subjected to state high school association ruling.
Williams’ talent, combined with his 5 million followers on social media – makes for a promising client in today’s sports market.
— excel sports (@excelsm) July 22, 2021
The NCHSAA (public schools) and NCISSA (private schools) are basically the “local branch” of the National Federation of High Schools, which overall does not allow high school athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness in the state of North Carolina – Vertical Academy, however, is a private school unrestricted by these rules.
Mikey Williams is ranked as the No. 7 basketball prospect in the Class of 2023 and averaged 22 points per game for Lake Norman Christian last season, according to ESPN.
Quinn Ewers’ decision, however, brings a little more complexity to the table.
Southlake Carroll five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers stated last Wednesday that he is considering skipping his senior year of high school football and enrolling a year early at Ohio State, so he can begin profiting off his image.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 2, 2021
But the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body of public schools in Texas – where Ewers is from – guided by the National Federation of State High School Associations, aren’t allowing high school students to be paid based on their image.
Only the state of California has outlined that high school student athletes can receive revenue based their NIL.
Ewers, who led Southlake Carroll to a state runner-up finish in Class 6A I last season – is expected to make his decision regarding his senior year relatively soon. He is the No. 1 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2022, according to 247Sports.
Ewers’ upcoming decision highlights a potential hurdle regarding the new NIL rules in college football and the current law’s ambiguity in the high school ranks.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has stated that profiting off NIL in conjunction with their teams is not allowed: “Current high school student-athletes CANNOT earn money as a result of their connection to their high school team.”
Mikey Williams and Quinn Ewers are now the epitome of today’s modern athlete, and those two are passing the blueprint for future high school phenoms.
The National Federation of State High School Association and the NCAA need to figure out common ground regarding regulation for the new NIL ruling in college sports and now, high school sports.
With both football and basketball seasons around the corner at the high school level, it will be interesting to see how all parties involve adapt to the changing landscape for “amateurism” in youth sports.