N.C. public high school athletes banned from making profit from NIL

The State BOE adopted the new policy on June 6.


Due to a new policy adopted by the North Carolina State Board of Education, student athletes at the state’s public high schools will not be able to profit from their name, image and likeness.

The new policy was adopted during a vote on June 6.

According to the new policy, student athletes at public schools cannot enter any agreement 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 (NFTs), product or service endorsements and promotional activities, including in-person events and social media advertisements.

The ban comes just months after the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association, an organization consisting of nearly 100 non-public member schools, announced in February that its athletes will be able to profit from NIL while maintaining eligibility to play prep sports. That policy will go into effect in the 2024-25 school year.

In May 2023, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, the governing body of high school sports at the state’s public schools, passed a policy allowing its athletes to profit off NIL, and that was supposed to go into effect in July of that year. On the same day, state legislature spoke out against the move and amended Senate Bill 636, a bill aimed to strip the NCHSAA of some of its powers, to require the Board of Education to determine amateur rules, including those dealing with NIL.

With the new policy adopted by the Board of Education earlier this month, North Carolina’s public-school athletes are now part of the minority of other states that don’t allow high school student athletes to participate in NIL deals. According to Business of College Sports, it’s clear in 37 states, including North Carolina’s private schools, and the District of Columbia that high school student athletes can monetize their NIL. In those states, NIL deals can be allowed while playing sanctioned sports or limited to non-sanctioned sports, teaching sports or after being accepted by a state college.

Nick Stevens of HighSchoolOT reported that the NCHSAA’s NIL Committee conducted research in 2023 on how NIL worked in other states and found that the average NIL deal for a high school athlete fell between $60-$120.

For the biggest high school names in the country, the deals and earnings could be much greater. According to On3’s high school basketball NIL rankings, Bryce James, a rising senior at Sierra Canyon High School in California and son of NBA star LeBron James, has a NIL valuation of $1.2 million. In March 2023, On3 also reported his older brother, Bronny James, made $7.2 million from deals with Nike, Beats by Dre and PSD Underwear before attending USC in the fall.