Ohio principals reject endorsement deals for prep athletes

May 17, 2022, 8:19 AM | Updated: 8:51 am

CLEVELAND (AP) — High school principals in Ohio have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to allow prep athletes to sign deals cashing in on their name, image and likeness, the Ohio High School Athletic Association said Tuesday.

In voting that began May 1 and finished Monday, principals from OHSAA member schools voted 538-254 to not allow the marketing deals for high school athletes. Students would lose their athletic eligibility were they to sign such a deal.

The principals could vote again on the deals at a later date.

“If NIL is going to enter the Ohio interscholastic landscape, we want the schools to be the ones to make that determination,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute in a statement. “Whatever we do moving forward, it will include discussion on this issue with our school administrators, Board of Directors, staff and leaders of other state high school athletic associations.”

OHSAA spokesperson Tim Stried previously said the organization opposed marketing deals for high school athletes.

While there are exceptions, the amounts college athletes are earning from NIL deals are small. According to data gathered by Opendorse Deals, the average payout since July for large-school Division I athletes is $664. It’s just $59 for Division II athletes and $43 for Division III athletes.

Nearly 70% of deals involve social media posts, the Opendorse data shows.

David Ridpath, an associate professor of sports business at Ohio University, frames the opportunity for student-athletes to benefit financially as a civil rights issue. Athletes are not employees of the schools they attend and should not be restricted from earning money, he told the AP in April, adding that amounts won’t be large but could put “a few extra bucks in their pockets.”

“In my view, it’s all been positive,” Ridpath said. “College and, by extension, high school athletes, are not employees and should not be restricted to any market place where they have value.”

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Ohio principals reject endorsement deals for prep athletes