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Pandora’s Box: High Schoolers Start Departing for NIL Opportunities

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Should high school players be allowed for forgo their senior year of high school to enroll early in college for NIL opportunities? Before you say yes, stop and at least consider the following.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Southlake QB, Quinn Ewers, is considering skipping his senior year to enroll early at Ohio State to earn nearly a million dollars in NIL deals.[1] As the number 1 overall recruit in the nation (according to 247Sports), Ewers naturally draws a lot of attention. Sounds great, right? I live adjacent to Southlake. I’ve watched Quinn play. He’s electric. Box office. Worth the price of admission. Why does that matter? Well, a lot of high schools benefit from big names drawing in additional ticket sales. If the best players are removed, schools that struggle with funding may have to find other ways to compensate.

Here in Texas, high school football reportedly produced 1.62 million dollars a year in 2017-2018.[2] Who knows what that number will be if the best players begin leaving early. Football is a huge revenue generator for high schools across the state. You may say that these players aren’t responsible for that problem. Perhaps they should only look out for themselves and their families. I won’t argue that point. Instead, I simply ask each person reading this to consider the ripples that come from those decisions.

Another such ripple you should consider is what it means to have that much money early. This is a concern heard across the country for NIL. Are we really that eager to get hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in the hands of 17/18 year-olds? Just think about it. It’s currently their right, but the psychological research on decision-making for people that age screams that it’s a bad idea without restrictions or boundaries. And I can support that assertion because I’m also a licensed psychotherapist with a specialization in sports psychology. But that discussion and the potential solutions are beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, I want you to think long and hard about what you would have done with that money at that age. I doubt you had the financial literacy on your own to make educated decisions.

To conclude, I’m all for options and opportunities, but with additional regulations and legislation that protect people from themselves. In this instance, if we are going to endorse highly rated high school athletes like Quinn Ewers to leave early, we should at least CONSIDER how to protect them from themselves financially and how we are going to help the communities that may lose a substantial amount of money. Quinn Ewers may be one of the first, but he won’t be the last.

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