South Dakota activities association takes another swing at name, image, likeness rules

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PIERRE — An amendment to the constitution of the South Dakota High School Activities Association had its first reading Wednesday, Feb. 28, at an SDHSAA board meeting. The amendment would clarify the standards governing name, image and likeness rules for student athletes.

NIL refers to the right of a student to control and profit from their name, image and likeness. In the past NIL rules applied to college athletes, but those opportunities have worked their way down to the high school level.

The association is trying to discern the rules for students who have monetized their social media accounts so they are not benefiting from their status as high school athletes. For the current rules to apply to student-athletes “It would have to be pretty blatant,” according to SDHSAA Executive Director Dan Swartos. “We’re trying to put some guardrail around it.”

Swartos explained that students could make money off of social media as long as they didn’t identify themselves as an athlete. “It’s completely separating you from the school,” Swartos said.

The amendment clarifies the rules for student-athletes who seek to be paid for the use of their name, image, likeness.

According to the amendment, the activity must not interfere with academic obligations; remuneration must not be tied to athletic performance such as pay to play; the remuneration must not be used to induce an athlete to attend a particular school; the remuneration must not be provided by the school or agents of the school like booster clubs or foundations; SDHSAA or a member school’s marks or logos must not be used nor the school’s name or mascot; member school uniforms must not be worn or displayed; member school facilities must not be used; SDHSAA or member school awards or trophies must not be displayed; and students must not promote or endorse activities associated with alcohol, tobacco, vaping, controlled substances, gambling, banned athletic substances or other illegal substances or activities.

The amendment goes on to advise international students to consult U.S. visa and immigration laws as well as the laws of their home country before entering an NIL agreement. It also advises parents and students to seek legal counsel and tax advice.

Swartos said the NIL rules would apply to a “small number of kids across our state. It could be a decent amount of funding.” Over the past two years, Swartos said only three or four parents have contacted him about NIL rules.

Students in violation of the NIL rules could lose their athletic amateur standing for a year. The NIL rules apply to students in taking part in sports, not those in activities like band or chorus.

The second reading of the amendment will be held at the board’s April meeting. If the second reading is approved, the amendment would go out to a vote of the association’s member schools.

In other action, after an hourlong executive session the board appointed Trent Osborne of Ipswich to join the board as its East River At Large member. Osborne, the Ipswich superintendent, will fill out the term of former board member Tom Culver of Avon who resigned. Osborne’s term will last until June 30, 2025.