NCHSAA votes to let North Carolina high school athletes get paid

CHARLOTTE — High school student-athletes in North Carolina could get paid as soon as July 1 after a new proposal passed on Wednesday.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association voted 15-3 on Wednesday to approve a policy that would let student-athletes profit off of their name, image, and likeness. It’s similar to how college students can get sponsorship deals for big bucks.

Commissioner Que Tucker said the policy is a “work in progress” but said it provides a place to start.

States like California and Pennsylvania are already doing this for their student-athletes, and it’s having an impact. Local coaches had told Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown before the vote that some athletes are leaving North Carolina to get NIL deals.

High school athletes are gaining more attention thanks to social media -- Instagram and TikTok can lead to millions of views for some student-athletes -- but it’s at the point that they have the opportunity to make money off of their name, image, and likeness.

“We already love playing sports, high school sports; to make monetary gain would be amazing,” Henry Fulbright, a junior baseball player, told WRAL.

The system being worked on by the NCHSAA would let student-athletes cash in on endorsement deals by doing things like advertisements, social media posts, and autograph signings.

Though some have questioned the idea of paying underage players.

“Why would a minor in high school need to have NIL?” said Will Taylor, whose daughter plays lacrosse and is on the cheer team.

“They need to focus on academics and going to college, and actually being able to get that and concentrating on their performance, rather than NIL in high school,” Taylor added.

There are restrictions on the types of products that student-athletes can be associated with. They would also have to fill out forms with the high school athletic association to document their NIL deals.

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Andrew McMillan, wsoctv.com

Andrew McMillan is the Digital Content Manager for WSOC-TV.