OHSAA commissioner says NIL will likely arrive one day


Doug Ute, executive director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, thinks NIL is coming to Ohio.

It’s just not certain when or in what form.

“I think it will happen,” Ute told members of the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association at a meeting Tuesday at the OHSAA office in Columbus. “It is the way of the world.”

NIL stands for “name, image and likeness” and refers to an athlete’s ability to take advantage of themselves. NIL gives athletes the right to publicity that ordinary citizens already have.

“Is it fair that a high school athlete has earning potential (and can’t)?” Ute asked. “It’s a different world than 10 or 20 years ago. It’s a different world because of social media. This is a big problem when you have a lot of followers.

Ute speculated that LeBron James could have landed a $50 million contract with Nike during his prep days at Akron St. Vincent-St. Married.

Member schools in Ohio “overwhelmingly” voted against NIL. There are nine states that have adopted NIL rules for their high school athletes and Ute said, “I haven’t seen a problem at all.”

But he doesn’t expect Ohio to vote again anytime soon, hoping to see how college-level NIL plays out.

“It seems like in college he (NIL) keeps redefining himself,” Ute said. “But it’s something we have to keep looking at. We need to be aware of any opportunities for our children and how you protect the amateurism of high school athletics.

More Ohio HS Sports Topics

NIL was just one of many topics that Ute and OHSAA Media Relations Manager Tim Stried discussed with media at the meeting.

• Women’s wrestling and men’s volleyball are now OHSAA championship sports.

Ute said neither girls’ wrestling nor boys’ volleyball “moves the needle” financially, but OHSAA decided the opportunity for its athletes was too good to pass on.

“Our schools are not ready for this, but they need to prepare,” Ute said, noting that training space, extra coaches and money are needed for schools to run these sports.

While a location to hold the state volleyball tournament is still being discussed, Ute said the Girls’ Wrestling Championship matches will be held at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center at the same time. time as the Boys’ Individual State Tournament. The regional girls tournament will take place on Sunday after the regional boys but at a different location.

• Ute said that by moving the boys’ basketball tournament to Dayton and the state championship football games to Canton, the state will save $1.2 million over three years, compared to what which was previously spent on these sports.

Ute said Northern Ohioans are skeptical about Dayton as a championship site, but in addition to UD Arena being a great basketball facility, Ute reminds those Northerners that football is located in Guangzhou.

• Articles in mid-July by Cleveland media said football officials in Northeast Ohio were threatening to boycott Week 1 of the 2022 season unless their salaries were increased. The demand was that the salary be at least $80 per game and increase by $10 per year until it was $100 per game.

With a shortage of civil servants in general, working civil servants seem to have an advantage in this negotiation. You can’t have a game without officials.

However, Ute said a salary increase for civil servants might be too costly for some schools. An athletic director told him that if officials in all sports received a $5 raise per game, it would add $14,000 to the school budget.

• OHSAA is looking to reduce the cost of post-season tournament games for students by $1 to encourage more students to attend these games.

• As the number of participants dwindles, Ute said it was probably time to ‘watch’ the eight-a-side football. He said former OHSAA executive director Dan Ross began this process several years ago, including a planned trip to Oklahoma to talk with eight-man game officials, but Ross fell ill and the problem was no longer on the table.

Now, says Ute, it’s “time to look, at least to see what’s out there.” If you don’t offer it, they will go elsewhere.

• There was talk of adding a division to athletics. Ute said there are currently three divisions for athletics. As with all sports, there are schools that have one or two more students than a lower division allows, thus moving that school to a higher division and, apparently, better competition.

“If we had 10 divisions, there would be someone saying, ‘We have two more children’.”

As for additional divisions for athletics or any other sport at this time, “discussions are ongoing, but we haven’t gone beyond talking in a room like this,” Ute said.

Ute just doesn’t know when the athletes will be paid

Contact Wilmington News Journal sports editor Mark Huber at 937-556-5765 via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports.


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