NIL comes to Oregon high schools

November 10 - Following a vote by the OSAA (Oregon School Activities Association) executive board in October, Oregon high school student athletes are now allowed to profit off of their name, image and likeness (NIL). Oregon is the 19th state to make such a change. This comes after the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) adopted a policy in 2021 for student athletes at the college level to profit in the same way.

Until recently, student athletes have not been allowed to profit off of their name, image or video of themselves being used in commercials or licensed products. For example, for many years the NCAA would make generic jerseys to sell in retail stores without a player’s name on it, just their number, because student athletes were not allowed to profit off of the sales. However, recently the University of Oregon began selling jerseys with players names on the back because of the NIL agreements in place.

“NIL was definitely something that I spent time thinking about what it would look like at the high school level, especially as you see some of these major recruits getting deals as seniors,” said Creswell Athletic Director Brandon Standridge.

Jackson Shelstad, a senior on the West Linn High school basketball team, and Jesuit High School basketball star Sofia Bell recently signed a deal to become the first Oregon high school student athletes to sign NIL deals. Both are University of Oregon recruits and signed a deal with Portland Gear, a Portland-based clothing company.

Details of the agreement were not disclosed; however, the Portland Gear website now features Shelstad and Bell on their website wearing the company’s clothing. Both athletes will appear in future social media ads as well.

“I think that the OSAA put in buffers to try and protect against the perception that someone could buy a team by limiting what an athlete can make money on and where and how that takes place. Part of the restrictions are not using district property, the OSAA or school logos or game film as part of their NIL deal, which in theory will limit what student-athletes can do, Standridge said.

While the first Oregon schools to be affected by NIL were located in the Portland metro area, local athletic directors responded as well.

“It needs to be regulated better than college. I’m not against it, but don’t want to see it impact kids transferring to other schools,” said North Douglas High School Athletic Director Scott Yakovich said. “I don’t think it will have any impact on NDHS. Bigger schools with big-time athletes maybe.”

For Standridge, With regard to the effect on us, I would say it will be negligible if any; unless we get a major Division One recruit roaming through our halls. At the 5A/6A level, I could see it becoming an issue and something that ADs would keep a close eye on, especially if a NIL deal and a transfer are conspicuously close together on a timeline.

Several high-end high school recruits who have yet to step foot on a college campus have already signed large NIL deals. Jaden Rashada, a five-star quarterback out of Pittsburg, Calif., reportedly signed a NIL deal worth over $9.5M. Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, recently signed a NIL deal with Beats by Dre, a headphone company, adding to his reported $7.4M NIL partnerships he has already signed.

While these are the most extreme cases currently occurring within NIL, it is worth note that even the smallest company could sign any OSAA athlete to a NIL deal.

At the end of the day, I think it was a necessity to get out ahead of this because even if we wanted to, so many states are approving it we weren't going to be able to stop it, so it was good to create a plan. Now, we will just wait and see how effective it is and if the OSAA will need to adjust the policy,” Standridge said.

For more information, reference the OSAA Handbook at: