Maryland Law Grants Rights to Student-Athletes

Maryland State Delegate Jay Walker introduced Maryland House Bill 1431, titled Public High Schools – Student-Athletes – Compensation for Name, Image and Likenessthat would allow public high school athletes across the state to enter into name, likeness, and likeness (NIL) contracts, provided certain conditions are met, including co-signing of any agreement by a parent or guardian. The proposed legislation, which would not come into effect until July 1, 2023would amend Maryland’s existing education law and add to Section 7-129 and provide these specific rights to any public high school athlete who participates in an interscholastic athletic program at any public high school in the state.

The bill would prevent the state superintendent, any county board or any individual public school from establishing any rule, requirement, standard or other limitation preventing student-athletes from earning compensation for their name, image or their resemblance. The same limitation preventing limitations on NIL rights would also apply to any athletic association within the state, including the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. It would also preclude any rule that would prevent a school from participating in high school level sports if a student-athlete at that school received compensation for name, image and likeness rights.

The proposed legislation also prohibits any public school or school-affiliated group from providing compensation to the student-athlete for their NIL rights or preventing the student-athlete from using their NIL for commercial purposes. when the student-athlete is not involved. in official team activities.

As with most state NIL laws governing varsity athletes, the bill grants student-athletes the right to be represented for contracts or legal matters.

In addition, the legislation provides some limits for the student-athlete. Specifically,

the bill provides that the terms of the contract cannot conflict with any high school athletic program contract and that the student-athlete has no legal right to use the name, trademarks, logos or any other School Intellectual Property owned by the School in any NIL agreement.

If passed by Maryland state lawmakers and signed into law, Maryland will join other states, including California, New York and New Jersey, which have already allowed NIL rights to high school athletes in their states. .

Unlike Maryland which would protect NIL rights under state law, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has taken the position that its rules have never prohibited athletes from enjoying their NIL rights, because the CIF is unwilling to declare an athlete ineligible to also participate in the state’s film and television economy. However, the CIF prohibits athletes from using their school name, logos, uniforms, or marks in endorsements.

New York and New Jersey have also joined California in granting high school athletes NIL rights. While the New York Legislature has yet to pass legislation granting NIL rights to varsity athletes in the state, the executive committee of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has revised the amateur rule of the to allow high school athletes to enjoy their NIL rights without jeopardizing their amateur status.

New Jersey also gave high school athletes specific NIL endorsement rights. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Executive Committee has approved an NIL proposal to allow athletes to benefit from their NIL rights. The New Jersey Association has adopted the California model by prohibiting athletes from using their school’s logos and marks. New Jersey athletes are also prohibited from endorsing certain categories of products and services, including adult entertainment, alcohol, cannabis, gambling and firearms.

© 2022 Jackson LewisNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 55