From the Press Box: Name-Image-Likeness affecting high schoolers now?

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There have been a flurry of contracts signed by college athletes in the past few months. No, I’m not talking about the pro sports drafts and NFL training camps.

I’m talking about contracts these athletes are signing with sponsorships and endorsements.

Before we get started, just for those who are still confused as to what NIL is, it is the process from which college athletes are allowed to receive financial compensation through marketing and promotional endeavors.

As of July 1, players are now allowed to sign these deals and make money they wouldn’t have been able to before. Please note, this is not the colleges paying the players now. It just allows for the athletes to go and grab a sponsorship or endorsement.

While there hasn’t been any backlash in the court of public opinion for many of these athletes, there was one headline that did grab my eye earlier this week.

Top high school quarterback in Texas, Quinn Ewers, from Southlake Carroll has said he may not play his senior year of football. Stating he may go directly to Ohio State so he can start making NIL money. For what it’s worth, he only needs one more class to fulfill his high school graduation requirements and can take that class online.

If Ewers was any other player, and didn’t already have a commitment (verbal) to Ohio State, I may look at this sideways.

But because of the type of sport football is, I could see why this is something to think about. What if he got injured next year and suddenly Ohio State yanks the scholarship away?

According to an article on Yahoo! Sports, Ewers could take one core English class, graduate early and be eligible to participate at Ohio State’s preseason camp on Aug. 3.

So for Ewers, it’s a question of, “Do I go back to High School, play my senior year and take one more shot at the State Championship (they lost in the Championship game last year)? Or do I go to Ohio State, make money (although his family has said they aren’t strapped for cash) and compete for the starting job for the Buckeyes?”

I really don’t see a wrong decision here for Ewers, except the risk of injury. I, personally, was ready to be done with high school and ready to enter the workforce. But I also know, especially for athletes and extra-curricular students (which I was neither), that a lot of students and their families cherish that senior year of high school.

It’ll be interesting to see Aug. 3 if Ewers reports to Buckeyes camp, or starts two-a-days next week at Southlake-Carroll.

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at pampanewseditor@gmail.com or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.

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