On October 2nd the Georgia High School Association announced that they will allow student-athletes in Georgia to have NIL deals without losing their amateur status. The decision came after months of debate among the board on whether student-athletes in Georgia should be able to sign NIL deals.
NIL's have completely revolutionized the realm of collegiate sports forever. Co-chairman of the Georgia High School Football Hall of Fame and publisher of DawgsHQ.com, Rusty Mansell, Said: “Whether you like it or not, I think Georgia High School kind of faced up and said, we need to get in front of this now.” He cites the guidelines as restrictive, but the rules ensure the integrity of the athlete’s behavior regarding the contracts.
“NIL deals cannot be based on athletic performance or achievement, used as an incentive to play at a specific school, or be provided by a school or its representatives,” said Mansell. These strict guidelines will ensure that the athletes receive deals from companies with good intentions and do not take advantage of them.
NIL deals have intrigued the entirety of the sports world for good and bad reasons. NIL is an abbreviation of “Name, Image, and Likeness.” it allows collegiate athletes eligibility for endorsement deals and benefits that come with them. USC quarterback and 2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams has multiple NIL deals with Playstation, AT&T, and Beats by Dre.
Williams has been great for the Trojans during his tenure at the school under head coach Lincoln Riley. During his Heisman-winning season, he put up over 2,000 yards, 23 Touchdown passes, and only four interceptions. He is still playing very well this year and will likely be a first-round pick in the NFL draft whenever he decides to declare. He is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in college football right now, and only athletes of this status recieve NIL deals.
Some negative connotations surrounding the NIL deals are the potential unfair treatment between players leading to inequity. Certain players will be given better opportunities than others and have better chances of receiving deals. That could damage a locker room’s chemistry with players being jealous of their teammate's lavish lifestyle when most student-athletes struggle financially.
Critics in the media also believe NIL deals could cause a disturbance in the classroom for student-athletes and affect their academics. Depending on the athlete’s personality there will be different effects. Some will use their newfound fortune as an inspiration. Others will get caught up in the lifestyle that awaits them as a professional athlete and let it affect their performances. It will also be a test for them to handle the fame as well like LSU star Angel Reese.
Reese is undoubtedly a celebrity now at such a young age due to her success on the court and on October 17th Reebok announced that they have signed her to an NIL deal. Reese said that fellow LSU tiger, Shaquille O'Neal, was influential in bringing her to the company. O'Neal was recently named president of basketball for Reebok and decided to bring her on board.
Her star power will entice many teams to form trade packages to acquire her for what she can bring to an organization on and off the court. A generational talent like Reese would provide new life for a franchise via jersey sales and revenue for a team that needs a #1 overall pick like Rhyne Howard’s impact on the Atlanta Dream.
Her experience with the benefits of her NIL deals has conditioned her to the lifestyle of balancing endorsement obligations like commercials and building her brand while maintaining a rigorous training schedule. Mentally she will be ahead of her peers since she will be used to all the attention. She will more than likely be the #1 overall pick when she decides to declare for the WNBA draft, which will only add more pressure on her to perform at a high level.
The NIL deals will continue to draw headlines because the deals are attached to the world’s most popular young athletes. Ever since the NCAA changed its policy in 2021 it has captivated the entire sports world with the potential that they have. Now we will see how the GHSA handles the Name, Image, and Likeness of the athletes.