Oklahoma high school athletes can now enjoy their name, image and likeness. An explainer.

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For the past two years, Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) has dominated the university landscape.

Since its implementation by the NCAA, the legislation has exploded, landing thousands of student-athletes with lucrative ventures and allowing hundreds more to promote themselves.

Now it has gradually spread to secondary level.

Oklahoma is now the 20th state to implement guidelines for high school athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, with the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) releasing a handful of rules to follow by student-athletes so they can explore business ventures. and remain eligible.

It joins countries like California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and, more recently, Oregon.

“I think it’s great for players to be able to promote things and to be able to share a lot of things,” said Red Martel, a junior running back at Beggs. “So, I think that’s pretty cool.”

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Some major differences remain between high schools and colleges when it comes to the NIL. High schools do not have a NIL director like most universities do. Also, most high schools do not own the rights to their logos and branding.

“Most of the states that allowed NIL in high school, they basically banned athletes from wearing their jerseys during NIL activities,” said Aaron Linsky, NIL regulatory expert and co-CEO and co-founder of NIL Marketplace. VerifiedInk.

In OSSAA guidelines, players are not permitted to wear school logos, reference the school name and mascot, or use the OSSAA brand logo or acronyms.

The same goes for clothes. No school names, logos or mascots may be displayed. Nor can any school facility be used for NIL compensation.

Athletes may not enter into agreements with companies that conflict with a school’s local district policy. This would include not being endorsed or doing business with tobacco or alcohol products.

The source of the compensation is also important. OSSAA guidelines make it clear that athletes cannot be paid based on specific athletic performance, such as an inducement to remain enrolled at a specific school or to be provided by a school or person acting as an agent for school.

Then there’s the topic of athletes finding deals.

On Monday, Nike announced that the company had signed three high school basketball players, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ son Bronny James, to lucrative deals with NIL.

Big deals for nationally recognized players grab headlines, but Linsky said most players won’t make thousands of dollars with NIL.

“High school athletes make a certain amount of money – not a lot, but a little – from their name, their image and their likeness and that’s great,” Linsky said.

How they do this can be divided into several categories.

“There are three ways, more or less,” Linsky said.

1. Post about a product on social media. “It’s pretty low effort,” Linsky said. “You’re basically a spokesperson for this product and say, ‘I think this is a great shoe’ or ‘this is a good AC company’.”

2. The more traditional advertising approach. Athletes enter a studio and shoot an advertisement for certain products that will appear on television or in the print media.

3. Sell collectibles. These can be signatures, keepsakes, showing up at an event, or many other collectibles.

“If you’re an outstanding pianist or a great actor and you’re under 18 and in high school, you’re still allowed to go to work and get paid for it,” Linsky said. “To me, that’s perfectly reasonable, and now athletes are learning those abilities.”

Martel agrees and is eager to sign deals.

“It would be cool to be able to (collaborate) with different brands and things like that,” he said. “And it would help me get my name out there and promote other brands.”

Others, like Bixby’s Luke Hasz, don’t focus on NIL.

“I like the NIL stuff, I think it’s good, but in high school I was just a little worried about winning a state championship,” said Hasz, an Arkansas draftee. “This stuff will eventually happen, so I mean if there’s an opportunity in high school, I’ll take it but I’m not going to go out and wish for it and stuff like that.”

As for the future, Linsky said it was too early to tell what might happen. As for states that passed legislation before Oklahoma, everything has gone according to plan so far.

“In general, I think it hasn’t been a big deal,” Linsky said. “You don’t really need to write in the law to make sure people are doing common sense things.”

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