NC Board of Education votes against allowing public school athletes access to NIL money

The N.C. State Board of Education has slammed the door shut on the state’s public high school athletes having access to their name, image and likeness rights.

During a meeting on June 6, the BOE adopted a policy that will “set forth limitations of activities by student-athletes designed to maintain the amateur nature of interscholastic athletics.”

The policy will prohibit student-athletes from entering into agreements to use their NIL in any of the following ways:

Public appearances or commercials.

Autograph signings.

Athletic camps and clinics

Sale of non-fungible tokens or “NFTs.”

Product or service endorsements.

Promotional activities, including in-person events and social media advertisements.

The new policy leaves North Carolina’s high school athletes operating under two sets of rules.

Beginning this fall, the state’s private school athletes will be able to profit off of their name, image and likeness. The N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association adopted its policy in January.

In May of 2023, the N.C. High School Athletic Association approved NIL for its member schools. State lawmakers soon overruled the change, ultimately stripping the association of much of its power and handing it to the state board and state superintendent.

Nationally, 32 state associations are allowing high school athletes to profit off NIL, according to the Business of College Sports.

When the NCHSAA was studying whether to add the policy in North Carolina, it formed a committee that discovered the average NIL deal for high school athletes in other states ranged between $60 and $120.

However, some high school stars have earned far more than that. And North Carolina has some of the nation’s top talent in multiple sports.

In football, for example, Providence Day’s David Sanders is ranked No. 3 nationally. Sanders, who attends a private school, already has an NIL agent.

Greensboro Grimsley QB Faizon Brandon is the nation’s No. 1 player among rising juniors.

Under this new policy, he would not be able to make money off NIL.

In addition to laying out what student-athletes at public schools cannot do, the new state board policy also says that a student-athlete may not participate in interscholastic athletics after any of the following:

Graduation from high school, with the exception to play spring sports playoffs and state championships after graduation.

Signing a pro contract, though students will be allowed to play a sport in which they’ve not signed a contract for.

Being paid as a participant in an athletic contest, with an exception to receive “a gift, merchandise, or other thing of value” that does not exceed $250 per student per season; the item is totally consumable and nontransferable; or is labeled in a permanent manner, like an engravement or monogram; or the item is approved by the student’s principal and local superintendent.

Participating on an all-star team or in a bowl game not sanctioned by the school’s governing body (violation would mean that the student is ineligible in that sport).

Students will be allowed to receive payment “by an administering organization...or athletic booster club affiliated with the student’s school...for essential expenses arising from a specific interscholastic athletic contest in which the student participates.”

Those items include meals, lodging and transportation.

Students can also receive a “nominal, standard fee or salary for working youth sports camps, whether or not they are school-affiliated.

Note: View the new policy document below