Recent High School NIL Restrictions — and Recommendations — for TSSAA Schools, Coaches, Athletic Directors, other School Officials and Booster Clubs in Tennessee.

“In December 2022, the TSSAA Legislative Council unanimously approved changes to the Amateur Rule of the TSSAA Bylaws after extensive discussion with the membership at the TSSAA Administrators Meetings in September and Regional Meetings in November.” Name, Image and Likeness and the TSSAA Amateur Rule | TSSAA

TSSAA Schools, Coaches, ADs, other School Officials and Booster Clubs across Tennessee: I prepared these high school NIL Restrictions — and Recommendations — specifically for YOU in light of these recent changes:

  1. Do not provide assistance to high school athletes in obtaining an NIL deal. Id. More specifically, you should not facilitate, coordinate, promote and/or negotiate NIL deals for high school athletes enrolled at your school, at least “To avoid the appearance of impropriety…” Id.
  2. You are allowed to provide generic educational materials or advice to high school athletes about NIL. Id. This includes discussing factors to be considered before signing an NIL deal with an athlete.
  3. Do not help or assist a high school athlete give instructional lessons or facilitate, coordinate, promote or put on a camp or clinic. Id. The TSSAA says this type of “assistance would reasonably suggest support or endorsement by the school.” Id.
  4. Do not direct a person from the community seeking a pitcher/receiver/setter, etc. to a specific athlete to provide lessons to their child. Id. The TSSAA says that “…directing someone to one of his/her players for this purpose would reasonably suggest endorsement or sponsorship of the school.” Id.
  5. Do not make any payment to a high school athlete for an NIL deal. Id. The TSSAA notes that even “[p]ayment from a school booster club could reasonably suggest the endorsement or sponsorship of the TSSAA school.” Id.
  6. Do not distribute – or pay – money for services to a student through an NIL Community Collective. Id.
  7. Do not be associated – directly or indirectly – with a Community Collective.
  8. Do not communicate with the Community Collective, owner(s) or its Board of Directors about specific NIL deals or potential high school athletes who might enroll at a TSSAA school.
  9. TSSAA Schools are not required to document high school athletes’ NIL activities. Id. But, a word to the wise: Every TSSAA School should follow the TSSAA’s suggestion to “…maintain an awareness of those activities in order to ensure that the activities do not suggest the endorsement or sponsorship of the school.” Id.
  10. You are still prohibited from “athletic recruiting.” Section 17 of the 2022-23 TSSAA Handbook/Bylaws states: “Athletic recruiting is the use of influence on a student or the parents or guardians of a student, by any person(s) directly or indirectly associated with the school, to secure or retain a student for athletic purposes.” Microsoft Word – 2022-23 TSSAA Bylaws and Constitution.docx Moreover, “In the event that there is a violation of this rule, there shall be a penalty against the school, and the student(s) who was the subject of the violation shall be ineligible for a minimum of one year.” Id.

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