OSAA approves changes to NIL rules for high school student-athletes
Oregon high school sports have officially opened their doors to NIL.
During a Delegate Assembly meeting held Monday, Oct. 10, the Oregon School Activities Committee voted to approve rule changes to allow athletes to profit from their own name, image and likeness, collectively known as NIL, effective immediately. The motion to adopt the new rule, which was proposed by the OSAA Executive Committee on Sept. 12, was passed unanimously by the Delegate Assembly.
The matter in question was OSAA Rule 8.4, which governs awards given to students participating in sports or other sanctioned activities such as band or choir. The newly passed motion includes new language that provides schools and students with parameters for seeking NIL compensation.
The new rule, adopted as Rule 8.4.4, provides four key restrictions regarding the motivation and source of NIL compensation: deals must not be tied to specific performance or achievement (e.g., scoring a specified number of points); deals must not be used as inducement or undue influence (i.e., as a recruiting tool); compensation must not come from the school itself or any of its agents (e.g., employees, booster clubs); and student-athletes must disclose any proposed deal to their school.
Further, as many NIL deals appear as marketing and advertising campaigns, the OSAA placed tight restrictions on the school's and/or district's direct involvement or mention in such promotions.
Notably, student-athletes may not use their school's name, mascot, team nickname, logo, insignias or any other distinguishing marker in any way related to NIL promotions. Moreover, student-athletes may not use school district facilities and/or equipment for such activities, nor can they use any game or practice film. Finally, student-athletes are not permitted to promote any products or services during sporting events or activities.
The OSAA also restricted the allowable content in NIL promotions for student-athletes.
According to Rule 8.4.4, student-athletes are prohibited from being involved in the promotion of the following activities, products or services: adult entertainment products or services; alcohol, tobacco, nicotine or vaping products; cannabis products; controlled dangerous substances; prescription pharmaceuticals; political parties and/or candidates; any product illegal for people under 18 years old; gambling, including sports betting; and weapons, firearms and ammunition.
The rule adds that student-athletes and their families "are encouraged to seek legal counsel and tax advice when considering NIL activity" while also conferring with their school. The OSAA also notes prospective college athletes should check with their schools to ensure they remain in compliance as they seek out potential NIL deals.
Additionally, the OSAA installed another guardrail to ensure amateurism in the age of NIL. Adopted as Rule 8.4.5, student-athletes will forfeit their amateur status by signing a professional contract in any OSAA-sanctioned sport.
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