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April 2023

    NIL Landscape for Prep Athletes and Ways to Get Started Now By Georgia Meyers, CleanKonnectAt the high school level, NIL regulations are a bit more convoluted than at the NCAA level. As of March 2023, there were at least 26 state associations in which high schoolers were NIL eligible, including New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire and California.The NIL floodgates at the high school opened in December 2022, when six states including Tennessee and Illinois adjusted their state guidance to allow NIL. In late-December, New Hampshire became the 26th state to allow NIL at the high school level. Other states are exploring allowing NIL at the high school level, including Georgia and Texas.  This tracker from OpenDorse breaks down the status of every state’s high school NIL bylaws.Dr. Karissa Niehoff from the National Federation of State High School Associations, the organization that oversees almost eight million high school athletes, said about NIL: “A high school student can be an incredible entrepreneur. We know that they are already doing this. They’re influencers. They’re actually engaging in some pretty high stakes relationships with business opportunities. We are not at the point yet where they’re getting paid to wear their high school jersey. That’s what we hope to protect.” High School Athletes Who Have Participated in NIL Juju Watkins: Women’s basketball player Juju Watkins became the first high school athlete to sign with Klutch Sports Group for NIL representation.Peyton Coburn: Golfer Peyton Coburn was the first high school athlete in Oklahoma to land an NIL deal, partnering with the National Scouting Report. Jada Williams: Women’s player Jada Williams has a half-dozen deals, including with Spalding, Move Insoles, Lemon Perfect, and GymShark. Jared McCain: Men’s basketball player Jared McCain has gained great popularity through his significant social media presence. He has NIL deals with Champs Sports, Lemon Perfect, Crocs, and more. He is represented by EXCEL. Mikey Williams: Men’s basketball player made headlines being one of the first high school athletes to sign an NIL deal when he signed a multi-year deal with Puma in October 2021.Five Ways High School Athletes Can Prepare for the NIL Landscape BUILD A PERSONAL BRAND: High school athletes can start building their personal brand by creating and maintaining a social media presence before they ever sign a letter of intent. This could involve regularly posting about their training and competitions, sharing their interests and hobbies, and engaging with their followers. By building a strong personal brand, athletes can attract potential sponsors and advertisers early on. They should post engaging content that appeals to their target audience and showcases their unique qualities that are a mix of athletic, lifestyle, and personality content.IDENTIFY POTENTIAL BRAND PARTNERS: High school athletes can research potential brands and partners that align with their personal brand and values. They can start by looking at companies that are involved in their sport or are popular among their fan base. Once they have identified potential sponsors, they can reach out to them to establish a relationship and convey to the brand why they are …