When the NCAA changed its NIL policy, it opened the door for high schoolers to profit without losing their college eligibility. They’re already taking advantage.
The most recent deal? Jada Williams, a 2023 UCLA basketball commit, who joined Spalding’s ambassador program, the company announced on Thursday.
She represents a class of highly marketable high school players, a few of whom have already jumped into NIL before moving into their college dorm room.
Five-star recruit Mikey Williams, also the class of 2023, signed with Excel Sports Management in July. He’s “closing” on a deal with Puma, according to The Athletic.
Grassroots sports streaming service BallerTV made NFTs of 30 boy’s basketball players at this summer’s Pangos All-American Camp. The NFTs went for $99-$250.
Jada Williams boasts more than 12,000 followers on Twitter and 300,000 on Instagram, while Mikey Williams has 3.3 million on Instagram and more than 59,000 on Twitter.
Jada Williams, the No. 21-ranked recruit, will join Spalding alongside professional players like Damian Lillard and DeMar DeRozan. She’ll work on marketing campaigns, events to promote women’s youth basketball, and collaborate on a “limited-edition” basketball series.
Experts previously told FOS that high school NIL opportunities probably won’t be as lucrative as the college landscape. But a select few social media stars like Mikey Williams could make millions.
A spokesperson declined to reveal compensation information for Jada Williams’ deal.
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The confusing patchwork of state NIL laws and school policies at the college level is even worse in high school.
It could affect where athletes choose to go to high school, or if they even play on those teams at all.
The National Federation of State High School Associations is the closest thing to an NCAA — but it doesn’t have the same power. It can only suggest guidelines and make recommendations.
Each state high school federation determines its own eligibility rules.
Three states have confirmed that high school athletes can do NIL deals without losing eligibility, according to a late-September Opendorse study.
More than 10 states confirmed that their athletes were prohibited from NIL activity.
The remainder of states haven’t made definitive statements, and Opendorse wasn’t able to confirm their stances.
Some athletes can opt to play for club teams outside of state high school federations — like the one Mikey Williams plays for — which are not subject to these rules.
NFHS executive director Karissa Niehoff previously told FOS that some athletes might relocate to states that allow NIL. While Jada Williams hasn’t credited NIL for the decision, she’s transferring to a California school from Missouri — a state that prohibits deals.
Athletes could skip part of high school altogether. Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers left early after finding out he couldn’t profit off NIL in high school because of a Texas state law.
As the Buckeyes’ fourth-string quarterback, he’s now making more than $1 million in NIL endorsements.
In Other News
Following the Alston decision, the Big 12 will not impose limits on the amount of education-related benefits that athletes in the conference can receive, the conference announced. The SEC recently made the same choice.
More than 90 women’s sports athletes at Florida Atlantic University have signed NIL deals with the Florida Panthers, according to Forbes.
If the College Football Playoff expands to eight teams before 2025, ESPN wouldn’t have to pay extra for media rights, according to the Associated Press.
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A select few high schoolers have always gotten enough attention to be marketable, even before social media — just ask LeBron James’ high school in Akron.
They just never had the chance to capitalize until now.
Between social media and the NCAA’s new NIL rules, it’s a perfect storm for some high schoolers to make bank.