Updated: Aug 7, 2022
BY: JOHN AZZATO
Name, image, and likeness. Three words that, in just a few months, have changed the landscape of sports forever. NIL laws will have an obvious effect on NCAA student-athletes, but the effect that these laws will have on college recruitment and even high school sports must not be forgotten.
It is clear that NIL laws will change the way college recruitment is handled. Colleges residing in states with permissive NIL laws will likely see improvements in recruitment. By contrast, those residing in states with strict NIL laws may be at a disadvantage. State governments around the country see NIL legislation in their respective states as a pressing issue, as a blow to recruiting could have consequences that would be difficult to rectify.
It is also important to note that for the first time, money is finally on the table for student-athletes. Recruits with big followings will surely look to take advantage of the popularity that surrounds them, and if they go to school in a NIL-friendly state, they will be able to profit in ways never thought possible. Tennessee State incoming freshman Hercy Miller, son of rapper Master P, signed a $2 million deal with Web Apps America. The four-year contract was signed just a day after NIL laws went into effect. Tennessee developed a state law, with many provisions matching those in neighboring states, allowing compensation for athletes like Hercy Miller. Deals like this will continue to rise as NIL legislation continues to evolve throughout the country.
High School Sports
Even high school sports have been affected by the recent NIL rules. Mikey Williams, an explosive shooting guard ranked in the top 10 of the Class of 2023, has signed with Excel Sports Management for the pursuit of NIL opportunities. As a junior in high school, and a prolific star with over three million Instagram followers, Williams can expect to cash out when he starts playing college ball. The very idea that popular players can cash out when it comes time for college could be the reason that high school sports will forever change. At the least, we can expect a slight uptick in student athletes reclassifying to become part of an earlier college class. If a student-athlete can fast track their education to a point where they can make NIL money, why wouldn’t they?
Quinn Ewers is a prime example. Ewers was a top-rated quarterback prospect of the Class of 2022, playing for Southlake Carroll High School in Texas. However, Ewers elected to reclassify to the 2021 class and enroll at Ohio State. At the time of his reclassification, NIL legislation in Texas did not allow any high school players to profit from their name, image, and likeness. However, by reclassifying to the incoming class of 2021 and enrolling at Ohio State, Ewers is set to make big money. It was reported that he reached a three-year, $1.4 million autograph deal with GT Sports Marketing. In addition, he was given a fully loaded F-250 truck from Ricart Automotive as part of an NIL deal. He even signed a deal with Holy Kombucha. That’s quite a change of events for someone who was expecting to play high school football for free.
Hercy Miller, Mikey Williams, and Quinn Ewers are just some examples of a trend that we can expect to see across all sports. Through NIL legislation, these student-athletes can finally capitalize financially on their own skill and popularity, as they continue to grow en route to what they hope will be successful professional careers. Each student-athlete will have a different path when pursuing NIL compensation, but one thing is certain. Whether it be high school or college, NIL laws are bound to have a ripple effect that we all should be ready for.