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Southwest Louisiana coaches react to LHSAA positioning on NIL

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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Southwest Louisiana (KPLC) - Just last year college athletics began allowing players to profit from the Name Image and Likeness. Now, high school athletic associations are considering the same.

“Somebody had to address the elephant in the room,” said LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine. “I, as your Executive Director and the committee, ensured we weren’t going to be the ones next up for litigation.”

The LHSAA has voted to allow student-athletes to earn NIL benefits through a partnership with Eccker Sports to help educate all parties involved. Bonine says the LHSAA will only interfere if NIL is used as a recruiting tool.

“Where we will get in the way, is if we get a complaint, a report filed that student A is leaving a school to go to school B because of the NIL opportunity,” said Bonine.

While the LHSAA intends to monitor these deals, Bonine believes there will be rule breakers.

“I think the individuals who work harder to find a way around the rule, we are still going to have that,” said Bonine.

It remains a concern for some coaches, including Iowa Basketball Head Coach Rob Melancon.

“You know some people are going to take advantage of it,” Melancon said. “There are some independent school districts in the state that have a lot of money and big businesses and they get in those transfers, I’m not going to name those schools but they get in those transfers and who’s to say they’re not going to do it.”

Another concern is the idea of immersing teenagers in the world of business.

“They don’t need to start thinking about business deals,” said Sulphur Baseball Head Coach Sam Moore. “So what we are trying to teach growing up is that we are trying to prepare them for that world, but at the bottom line, is we are dealing with 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18-year-old kids that are quite not adults yet. That is where we’ve got to draw the line.”

While some are wary of NIL deals for such young athletes, others know these opportunities are what the future holds for stand-out talent.

‘It’s good for high school athletics you know it’s preparing them for life,” said Hamilton Christian Athletics Director Dexter Washington. “You’re going to have to be educated on the business world about what you are probably exposing yourself too.”

Coaches we spoke with also believe rural schools may have a tougher time keeping with these opportunities.

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