On Tuesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) announced that its member schools will have the opportunity to vote on a number of amendments to OHSAA’s constitution and bylaws that govern the organization and high school athletics. Included among the changes is a name, image and likeness (NIL) measure similar to those that affect Ohio’s college athletes.

The NIL proposal, Issue 12B, would allow high school student-athletes to sign contracts to use their NIL for commercial purposes without losing their eligibility to compete. There are limits in the proposal. For example, athletes cannot:

  • Use the name, logo, mascot, trademark, or either proprietary properties of OHSAA member teams or schools, or of OHSAA, during promotions;
  • Engage in NIL marketing or endorsements, or display any product or otherwise advertise anything, during official team activities; or
  • Receive compensation for use of their NIL to promote casinos, gambling, alcohol, drug use or tobacco use.

NIL agreements cannot:

  • Require student athletes to display products; or
  • Provide any money, services or benefits to the students’ schools or teams.

According to the OHSAA proposal document. “These proposed amendments provide an avenue for students to earn money on their name, image and likeness without involving the OHSAA member schools, their teams and the association.” The proposed language still prohibits students from competing for money. 

Among other provisions to be voted upon are those affecting emerging sports, student eligibility, and transfers.

The voting will be conducted electronically starting on May 1 and ending on May 15 at 4 p.m. The principal of each OHSAA member high school will have one vote on each issue. Proposals pass with a simple majority of those voting. Unless otherwise noted, matters that are passed will be effective on Aug. 1, 2022. The NIL proposal, if passed, would be effective on May 16, 2022.

A complete copy of the referendum issues is available on the OHSAA’s website here. Member schools will also have the opportunity to learn more about the changes at these upcoming OHSAA athletic discussion meetings:

  Monday, April 18- Columbus Meeting, 12:00 pm
  Wednesday, April 20- Clayton Meeting, 12:00 pm
  Monday, April 25- Cuyahoga Falls Meeting, 1:45 pm
  Tuesday, April 26- Bluffton Meeting, 9:00 am
  Thursday, April 28- Cambridge Meeting, 1:30pm

The legal division will monitor this vote as it proceeds and provide updates as they become available. Also, OHSAA developments and other sports topics will be discussed at the annual OSBA Sports Law Workshop, scheduled for June 24, 2022. Watch for registration information coming soon.

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 4/8/2022