UIL is issuing the following guidance related to high school student-athletes profiting from their name, image, or likeness (NIL).
The Texas Education Code states the following:
Section 51.9246. Compensation and Professional Representation of Student Athletes Participating in Intercollegiate Athletic Programs.
(j) No individual, corporate entity, or other organization may:
- enter into any arrangement with a prospective student athlete relating to the prospective student athlete ’s name, image, or likeness prior to their enrollment in an institution of higher education ….
With this language, the Legislature generally prohibited agreements that would provide for a student-athlete to profit from their NIL prior to their enrollment in an institution of higher education.
The UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, Section 441: Amateur Athletic Status, states the following:
Section 441: AMATEUR ATHLETIC STATUS
The amateur rule starts the first class day of a student’s ninth grade year, and is in continuous effect during the school year and summer months until all athletic competitions are completed in the 12th grade. The student at all times (whether in school or outside school) shall abide by the letter and intent of amateurism, as set forth in this section. Schools are charged with the responsibility of informing students of all applicable subsections of this rule and enforcing this rule. Administrators and coaches must ensure that athletes receive only services specifically permitted by written rule. Any breach of the rule undermines the educational goals of interscholastic athletics.
(a) NOT AN AMATEUR. For purposes of competing in an athletic contest, a student in grades 9-12 is not an amateur if that individual, within the preceding 12 months:
- except as provided otherwise in this section, received money or other valuable consideration for participating in a UIL sponsored school sport;
- received valuable consideration for allowing his or her name to be used in promoting a product, plan or service related to a UIL sport or contest; or
- accepted money or other valuable consideration from school booster club funds for any non-school purpose.
- For the purposes of this section, “participating” means taking part or playing any role in the covered sport or otherwise being involved in any practice, game or contest of the covered sport, as a coach, player, manager, assistant, or any other involvement besides that of a spectator. A game or activity involving chance not sponsored by the UIL but that may also involve a student using some athletic skill or ability does not constitute “participating” under this section. Such a game or activity would be a “half-court shot” contest as part of a marketing program or throwing balls at a target for a prize. “Teaching” and ‘coaching” are synonymous terms.
- For the purposes of this section a “UIL sponsored school sport” is any sport that is sponsored by the UIL as either a regular approved UIL activity or pilot program and that is made available through the school the student attends. For example, baseball is a UIL sponsored sport and is covered by this rule, regardless of the level of competition involved or organization that is administering the game in which the sport is played.
(c) STATUS REGAINED. If a student did not realize that accepting the valuable consideration was a violation of the amateur rule and returns the valuable consideration within 30 days after being informed of the violation, that student may regain athletic eligibility as of the date the valuable consideration is returned. If a student fails to return it within 30 days, that student remains ineligible for one year from when he or she accepted it. During the period of time a student is in possession of valuable consideration, he or she is ineligible for varsity athletic competition in the sport in which the violation occurred. Any games or contests in which the student participated during that time would be forfeited as the minimum penalty.
(d) TEAM VIOLATION. If the team violates this section, the penalty shall be assessed against the team and not against each individual. Section 441(a)(2), like the Education Code, generally prohibits agreements that would provide for a student-athlete to profit from their NIL prior to their enrollment in an institution of higher education.
It is the opinion of UIL staff that a transaction in which a student-athlete is engaged “to promot[e] a product, plan or service related to a UIL sport or contest” using the student-athlete’s NIL in exchange for compensation received by or on behalf of the student-athlete would be in violation of Section 51.9246 of the Education Code and Section 441 of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.
It is the opinion of UIL staff that the student-athlete would be in violation of this section if an agreement was executed prior to the student being enrolled in an institution of higher education, even if the student, or a third-party receiving compensation on behalf of the student, does not receive compensation “until all athletic competitions are completed in the 12th grade.” Section 441(a)(2) prohibits the receipt of “valuable consideration,” which covers any inducement, including a promise of future compensation.