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Tennessee high school sports org votes to allow NIL deals

The rulemaking arm of Tennessee’s high school sports oversight organization has made a change that allows student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

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A news release from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association says its legislative council voted for the change on Thursday, effective immediately.

Students could receive payment as long it is not related to their performance, doesn’t suggest the endorsement or sponsorship of their school and doesn’t include the student in gear featuring the name or logo of their school. The change also says student athletes can get paid for giving lessons.

Nineteen other states allow high school athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness without affecting their eligibility to play in college.

The changes have meant elite prep athletes are now banking six and even seven figures before heading to college.

The wave of new rules allowing high schoolers to cash in on endorsements and other deals follows a decision by the NCAA in June 2021 that cleared the way for the deals for college athletes.

Some prep stars were already making moves in Tennessee. Shajai Jackson, a running back for Lakeway Christian Academy in White Pine, tweeted Thursday that he has struck an agreement with a local auto dealership.