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NFHS’ Niehoff Discusses NIL, Officials Shortage

Rules • June 7, 2022

By Lizz McCrindle
NSGA Communications and Social Media Manager

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (June 7, 2022) – The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) held media availability to discuss a few key topics including officiating in high school sports and Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) for high school student-athletes.

Name, Image and Likeness (NIL)

The NFHS indicated that each state high school athletic association has the ability to determine guidelines for its high school with regard to Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). Dr. Karissa Niehoff, CEO of the National Federation of State High School Associations, recognized the entrepreneurial prowess of many young student-athletes and the right they have to profit off of their athletic ability.

However, Niehoff emphasized that while the NFHS believes student-athletes should be able to profit off their athletic ability, they cannot profit off things they do not own such as the high school they attend, jerseys they wear, etc. Athlete endorsements cannot be affiliated with their schools.

As of today, there are nine states that permit NIL for high school student-athletes – Alaska, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Utah.  

When asked about her greatest concern regarding NIL in high school sports, Niehoff responded, “at the high school level, I am concerned about the breakdown of the high school locker room. NIL can be very disruptive to high school sports. There is a breakdown in the pathway to education and the sensitive climate and culture that is high school sports.”

Officiating in High School Sports

The NFHS is currently in year four of its official recruitment campaign. On April 12-14, 2022, the NFHS held the Officials Consortium, which featured 61 attendees from officiating leadership as well as 42 sports entities or organizations representing professional, collegiate and youth sports in addition to national governing bodies and coaches’ associations.   

The goal of the consortium was to identify problems and barriers to the recruitment and retention of officials and develop collaborative solutions to build and maintain the officiating pipeline for all stakeholders.

The NFHS will be putting together an officiating toolkit that will be available for those looking to help officials. This fall, the NFHS will be hosting the Officiating Consortium 2.0 where they will reconvene and build upon what was identified in the original consortium.

This meeting can be seen in its entirety via the NFHS website.