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How will the NCAA's NIL licensing change affect high school recruiting?

A photo of football players from the University of Utah and BYU in a stadium warming up for a football game.
Ken Lund
Flickr Creative Commons
On the collegiate and high school levels, players and staff are still figuring out the NCAA's name, image and likeness policy change affects them.

Utah high school athletes are factoring it into their decision for where they'll go to college.

The NCAA agreed this past summer to allow college athletes to profit from their fame. Students can now accept brand endorsement deals, monetize their social media accounts and have an agent represent them.

Max Alford is a senior at Park City High School and will play for Utah State University's football team next year. He also received offers from Yale, Rice University and the Air Force Academy.

Alford said some of his mentors advised him to stay in Utah for college because of the connections he already has in the state.

"That was kind of a factor, already knowing people I could possibly get deals with in the future," he said. "I thought about how many startup companies are based out of Utah."

But he said his coaches also told him that if he keeps working hard and plays well in college, the benefits of the NIL policy will follow.

Alford said recruiters from Utah State did not talk with him about the chance to profit off his name. He said the coaches briefly mentioned to him that they might start a program that helps athletes navigate the changes, similar to BYU's "Built 4 Life." Earlier this year, every BYU football player was offered an endorsement deal with Utah-based company Built Brands.

Rachel Harris, the director of on-campus recruiting for USU football, told KUER in an email that they aren't using the potential for athlete’s to profit as a primary recruiting tool.

"There is still so much uncertainty surrounding NIL, especially in the state of Utah," Harris said.

Peter Falaniko, a senior at Pine View High School, said that he didn't consider making money in college when committing to play football at BYU next year.

"I really didn't hear about [the NIL], it's all new to me," Falaniko said. "But I'm excited to learn what's going to happen in the future."

He said that he hasn't talked with his high school or BYU coaches about opportunities that he could have to profit in college. Instead, he chose BYU based on fit.

"It just felt like home,” he said.“All of the coaches feel like family to me. I had a great time when I went on my visit over there."

Jon Oglesby, assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association, said the association is talking with schools in Utah and nationwide to figure out how they can best help staff and students.

"I think our concerns are the same as at the collegiate level," Oglesby said. "What role does it play on a personal level, outside of as a student athlete having eligibility? I think there's a lot of discussion overall that we're trying to figure out."

Martha is KUER’s education reporter.
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