GHSA will announce name, image likeness plan in October

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Thomaston -- Georgia will soon join the 30 states who already have adopted guidelines regarding how high school athletes can monetize their name, image and likeness.

Georgia High School Association executive director Robin Hines said at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting that he would have a proposal ready for the Executive Committee meeting in the fall. The matter was discussed on Wednesday, but no vote was taken.

“I intend to bring a proposal in October for the fall meeting,” Hines said. “We want to keep this thing on the rails if we can.”

Hines reiterated, as he has since the subject first arose, that this not a “pay to play” issue and that collectives to raise money and pay players will not be allowed. Compensation will not be allowed as an incentive to remain enrolled at a school. Players would not be allowed to use their school names, logos, mascots, facilities or statistics as part of any NIL deal.

“We’ve got to do it,” Hines said. “If we don’t do it, it’ll get done to us. Plus, I believe it.”

The GSHA also debated a proposal from GHSA vice president Curt Miller, the director of athletics and assistant principal at Oconee County High School, that would mandate a two-year sit-out period (9th and 10th grades) for any middle school students who attend a skills camp, combine or official visit and transfers to a school where any of the coaches working the event are employed. The schools hosting such a camp or competition will be required to report the name of coaches working the event to the GHSA.

The idea of the proposal, which did not come for a vote, is to prevent middle school players from being recruited by high-profile programs.

“My phone has been blowing up with all of this,” Miller said. “If we don’t do something, you might as well just throw out everything we’ve got on the books about transfers.”

Steven Kraft, the assistant superintendent at Dalton Public Schools, agreed with Miller. “If we don’t do something, this is going to continue to ramp up and ramp up.”

Discussion was held, but no action was taken on changes that would allow para-professionals to act as head coaches and on the idea of punishing a coach who followed a student-athlete who transferred to a new school. It is currently forbidden for players to follow coaches.

The board discussed the reclassification process for the 2024-26 cycle, in which the GHSA will return to six classifications rather than the current seven. A starting point is to have 19% of football-playing schools in the highest classification, which would be 64 schools or eight schools per region.

The GHSA also officially signed off on the executive oversight agreement that was hammered out with the Georgia General Assembly in 2021. As stated in the bill, the new executive oversight committee will be made up of 10 members.

· Three members will be appointed by state elected officials, one each by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.

· Two members will be appointment by the Georgia School Superintendents Association, one from smaller schools and one from larger schools.

· One member will be appointed by the Georgia School Boards Association.

· One member will be appointed by a state-wide association of high school athletic directors.

· One member will be appointed by a state-wide association of athletic officials, referees and umpires.

· Two members will be appointed by the GHSA, one from smaller schools and one from larger schools. The GHSA is expected to keep Jasper Jewell, the director of athletics for Atlanta Public Schools, as one of the two spots.

According to the bylaw, the organization will meet at least twice a year and will be responsible for conducting any independent audit, review or investigation of the classifications of schools and travel-related issues. The committee will conduct an annual evaluation of the GHSA and present a report on finding and recommendations to the Georgia General Assembly’s High School Athletics Overview Committee.

“This increases communication and we’re all in favor of communication,” Hines said.