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Developing story: FHSAA votes to allow high school athletes to cash in on names, images and likenesses


The Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved a policy Tuesday that allows high schoolers to profit off their names, images, and likenesses.

The board, the executive authority of the association governing high school athletics in Florida, passed the rule with a unanimous vote, although some members expressed concern. 

“There are people right now who have people paying for kids to go to schools, which is against our current rules,” said board member Trevor Berryhill, an athletic director at a private school. “So, I don’t really know how much any of this is going to be able to be controlled — that’s the scary part.”

Florida joins more than 30 states in allowing students to capitalize on their names, images, and likenesses — NIL for short — at the high school level, many following a 2021 NCAA ruling that allows college athletes to capitalize in this way. 

Shelton Crews, executive director of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, emphasized to the board that increased transfer rates and “pay to play” have become common at the college level, and warned against the same in high school, although he said he was not against high school NIL.

The rule limits transfers between high schools, especially during midseason.

Berryhill and Crews raised concerns that the association’s staff may not be large enough to enforce safeguards, which highlights a significant difference with the NCAA: staffing and budget. 

Board President Monica Colucci recognized the new rule serves as a starting point and can be changed as needed. 

“As the governing board, we can, as situations arise, we can tweak the bylaw, we can go back to it,” Colucci said. “We can revisit as many times as we need to, to make the modifications, but I do believe as president of this organization, this is a very good starting point for us to move forward with.”

NIL collectives, organizations used to centralize donations for distribution to individual athletes, are prohibited under the new rule. Traditional booster organizations can continue to support teams, but not individual players.

Paul Selvidio, chief financial officer for the Community School of Naples and a board member representing non-public schools, argued that NIL agreements would allow students from less wealthy socioeconomic backgrounds to capitalize on their talents. 

“I think there’s a lot of fear out there, but I have confidence in our system, that the free markets would regulate all of this, and I would like to see this board allow that to happen with reasonable limitations,” Selvidio said. 

The change enables high school athletes in Florida to hire agents, but only to serve as an advisers for NIL-related matters. 

Some would-be sponsors are off limits — alcohol and tobacco, cannabis, prescription pharmaceuticals, gambling, weapons, and political or social activism deals all would violate the regulations. 

Students are prohibited from monetizing their schools’ uniforms, equipment, logos, names, or copyrights.

Schools are protected from legal claims arising from NIL agreements, one item in the bylaw states.

“I think we’ve seen in some recent cases some private actions to try to hold schools liable for decisions that have been made that would impact a student’s NIL deal, and we discussed this back in October, just making sure that schools were protected from those claims,” said Kimberly Richey, chair of the board committee that reviewed the rule. Richie added that she thinks the language protects schools well.

Florida High School Sports, NIL, Names, Images, Likenesses, Florida Phoenix, How much money can a high school athlete make from their NIL?


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