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IHSAA, IGHSAU explain NIL guidelines put in place for high school athletes

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released updated NIL guidelines Wednesday for high school students.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa's high school athletes have joined the ranks of those permitted to gain compensation from their name, image and likeness.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released updated NIL guidelines on Wednesday for high school students.

According to the ISHAA's updated guidelines, compensation cannot be reliant on athletic success, be used as an incentive to attend certain schools or be provided by schools or by "an agent of the schools."

"We all realize it would come into high school ranks at some time. So there was really a sense of, let's not bury our head in the sand. Let's get out in front of it. And let's give our families and our schools, a space that they feel comfortable in dealing with this when it does come," said Jean Berger, executive director of IGHSAU. 

Profiting off of NIL was never technically prohibited for high school athletes in Iowa — it was just never really brought up. Because NIL is starting to pop up at the high school level, it prompted the IHSAA an IGHSAU to put guidelines in place to both inform and protect both athletes, parents and the schools. 

"We just felt like it was important for us to be a resource for our young people, their families and their schools. We didn't feel like we wanted them to just go out there and dabble in this," said IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating. "Let's give them a starting point. And then if they have questions, they can they can certainly reach out to us."

Keating and Berger emphasized that the guidelines that are posted are just that -- guidelines, not policies. Although, they do currently have policies that prohibit getting paid to play or getting paid to attend a certain school.

NIL has become commonplace in college athletics for a year now, with athletes doing everything from selling merch to appearing in TV commercials.

Here are the guidelines for Iowa high school athletes seeking compensation: 

  • The student should not use the IHSAA or member school marks or logos in any NIL activity.
  • The student should not wear apparel or equipment which includes the IHSAA logo or member school marks or logos for the purpose of any NIL activity.
  • Student should not reference the IHSAA or member school name or mascot for the purpose of any NIL activity.
  • The student should not use a member school’s facilities for the purpose of NIL activity.
  • The student should not promote activities nor products associated with the following: gaming/gambling; alcoholic beverages, tobacco, cannabis, or related products; banned or illegal substances; adult entertainment products or services; or weapons (e.g., firearms).
  • The student and his/her family should seek guidance from his/her member school.
  • The student and his/her family should seek their own legal counsel and tax advice when considering any NIL activity.
  • The student and his/her family should contact the NCAA, NJCAA, and/or NAIA to ensure any NIL activity does not jeopardize collegiate eligibility.

Watch the full interviews with the IGHSAU and ISHAA executive directors below: 

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