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NIL Could Soon Be Coming to Pennsylvania for High School Athletes

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Name, image, and likeness (NIL) could soon be coming to Pennsylvania for high school athletes.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Board of Directors on Wednesday approved on first reading a new policy to allow high school athletes to profit off their NIL. The PIAA, like many other high school state athletic associations, is considering the adoption of a NIL policy to ensure that local talent stays home and competes for in-state schools rather than attending out-of-state schools in states where NIL is permitted for high school athletes.

Under the proposed policy, Pennsylvania high school athletes would be eligible to profit off their NIL from, among other options, commercial endorsements, promotional activities, and social media presence.

The proposed policy, however, has some restrictions. Students cannot wear school uniforms or “school-identifying apparel” or make reference to the PIAA or their school or team name when engaging in NIL activities. Students also cannot endorse or promote any third-party entities, goods, or services during team or school activities.

The proposed policy also outlined prohibitions on activities in certain vice industries, including:

  • Adult entertainment;

  • Alcohol;

  • Controlled substances;

  • Opioids;

  • Casinos and gambling; and

  • Weapons, firearms and ammunition.

According to WGAL News 8 Local Pennsylvania, the PIAA plans to hire a company to provide educational services and resources to help athletes and their families, coaches, and school officials navigate NIL.

The policy needs at least two more readings before it is adopted. If the PIAA’s proposal passes through two more readings, Pennsylvania will join a growing list of states that permit high school athletes to profit off their NIL. That list currently includes the following states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, and Utah. The PIAA Board of Directors meets again in September and October, which means the policy could be enacted before winter, but likely won’t happen until July 2023, according to WGAL News 8 Local Pennsylvania.

The full text of the proposed NIL policy is available here.

Ryan Whelpley is an Associate at Morse in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he is a member of the firm’s Corporate Practice Group and focuses on venture capital financings, M&A transactions, and general corporate work for start-up and emerging growth companies. He is a graduate of Albany Law School (2019) and Union College (2016). At Union, Ryan was a member and three-year captain of the Men’s Basketball Team. You can connect with him via Twitter (@Whelpley_Law) and LinkedIn.

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