Marketing and Sponsorship

Ohio High School Athletic Association rejects NIL eligibility for prep athletes

A name, image and likeness deal that Lakota West high school junior Malik Hartford had in place "may be on hold until he officially becomes" an Ohio State football player because the Ohio High School Athletic Association rejected NIL deals for prep athletes, according to Scott Springer of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. After announcing his decision to play for Ohio State on April 6, Hartford mentioned that he had an NIL opportunity "ready if the OHSAA cleared the way" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/18). The ENQUIRER's Springer in a separate piece notes a majority of the OHSAA member school principals "have voted against name, image and likeness opportunities for the state's prep athletes." The pro-NIL measure "failed 538-254," so Ohio's prep athletes "remain unable to sign endorsement deals without losing their amateur status." This proposal "would have permitted student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA were not being represented within those endorsements and provided there were no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics (casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs, tobacco)" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/18).

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