In a decision that could quickly change the landscape of high school football, the nation’s No. 1 Class of 2022 prospect to skip its final season to take advantage of its name, image and likeness.
Ohio State quarterback commits Quinn Ewers, the No. 1 recruit according to both 247Sports and Rivals, told Yahoo.com he tends to skip his senior year at Southlake Carroll (Texas) a decision that would allow him to take immediate advantage of his popularity.
While college athletes are now allowed to take advantage of their name, image, and likeness, most states, including Texas and Alabama, don’t allow high school athletes to do the same and still remain eligible.
I tend to leave and go to Ohio so I don’t have to deal with UIL (University Interscholastic League) stuff and can get comfortable with Ohio and Columbus and start learning, Ewers told me Yahoo.com.
According to the Yahoo report, the UIL has informed Ewers that any attempt to profit from his image would violate Texas NIL law.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association has sent several emails to its member schools in the wake of the state’s July NIL ruling, reminding high school athletes that high school athletes cannot accept money as a result of their affiliation with an high school sports team. If they do, they will be declared unfit.
Membership in the Alabama High School Athletic Association still has an amateur rule, new AHSAA director Alvin Briggs told AL.com Wednesday afternoon. Those rules state that you can’t use your athletic skills to gain anything financially.
Some high school coaches expressed concern about the NIL ahead of Wednesday’s report from Texas.
I’m afraid it’s going to bleed in high school, said Steve Normand, head football coach at Class 7A Baker High in Mobile. If they do it in college, how soon are they going to do it in high school? How soon does it take people to start taking notice of these high school big names getting all the fame? Look on Twitter. Why can’t they go out and stand in front of Publix with a King Cake or have a chicken sandwich named after them?
It scares me a little. I think we are entering uncharted waters that may have sharks in them.
Randy Kennedy, host of a talk show on Sports Talk 99.5 FM in Mobile, also saw the problem coming.
For athletes and non-athletes, the buzz phrase these days is building your brand, he said. For many people, that brand building starts in high school and even earlier. Especially in basketball, I think the temptation will be great for high-profile players to start making money before they even go to college. Of course, unlike the new rule for college athletes, high school athletes risk their eligibility by signing with a company. That could lead to the most marketable young players finding a place to play other than high school so they can start cashing in earlier.
Freshman McGill-Toolen coach Norman Joseph coached at the college level for four decades. He doesn’t want to go back anytime soon with the new NIL rules.
There’s a rule in the AHSAA, and I’ve been reminded about three times in the past few weeks that we’re not part of the NCAA, and thank goodness we’re not, he said on Mobile County Media Days earlier this month. This is the purest level of football and I am proud to be a part of it. That may contradict what most people think.
It could also conflict with where the high school sport is headed if the Ewers issue is a sign of things to come. St. Pauls coach Steve Mask spoke of the possibility of a student athlete skipping his senior year of football ahead of Wednesday’s Ewers news.
It’s a really scary thought, said Mask, who has won four state titles at the school and helped countless players earn college scholarships in a coaching career in the Hall of Fame. I’d lose a lot of respect for college if that happened to a kid.
I’d hope the college guys would step in and say, No, that’s not going to happen. To me, it’s a signal that someone is doing this because they want to make money, not because they want to contribute to the school. I don’t like where we’re going. I really don’t.
Alabama’s top 2022 prospect is Thompson EDGE and Alabama commit Jeremiah Alexander, which is number 11 nationally according to 247Sports. The Class of 2023 consists of a pair of defensive linemen, Thompsons Peter Woods and Carver-Montgomerys James Smith, who are both among the top three in the nation.
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