Helpful #NIL tips for High School Athletic Directors & Coaches

Much has been made about Name Image and Likeness the past couple years. From the pro’s to college and now in many states at the High School level all across the United States. So I think it makes sense to share a few pointers to help High School Athletic Directors & High School Coaches better understand the landscape of modern day #NIL and College Sports Recruiting.

Athletic Directors:

1.Train coaches on NIL (especially as it impacts recruiting)

2.Ensure your students understand the State NIL guidelines (NIL Playbook)

3.Control, copyright or protect school specific Intellectual Property (domain names, logos, etc.)

4.Have a policy/process for parents/boosters to discuss NIL opportunities that are in compliance with school policies or sponsorships

5.Ensure you have a policy that protects your sponsors.  Make sure coaches, athletes and parents understand your policies

6.Look to add curriculum into the school that helps educate kids on entrepreneurship, finances, marketing, branding, and more

7.Add NIL context into any school or district wide Social Media or Recruiting workshops!

8.Disclosure!!!! Have a process by which each athlete/parent self reports NIL deals so that you have proper visibility


Education is super critical. Do you understand the rules, the local or state policies and the implications? For coaches/AD’s this is super important to start now and to be that first line of support for student-athletes and parents who being this journey to ensure they are prepared and educated to do things in the right order at the right time. Here are our recommendations for High School Coaches & NIL policies/education:

•Education: Understanding Terms, Eligibility & Considerations

•Discuss Social Media & its impact on NIL with your student-athletes

•Consider monitoring…

•Share Quick Tips (Schools & Student-Athletes/Families)

•Add NIL topic into annual parent meetings

•Post State Rules/Guidelines on NIL

•Post District Policies on NIL

•Encourage NIL education

Here is a mini #NIL checklist:

*Review your state and school district policies! You HAVE to know the rules before you engage in NIL.      

*Have student-athletes start writing down an initial “Business Plan” that states a student-athletes goals, brand vision, timing, how you will manage endorsements and sponsorships, legal and tax planning.  When they write this plan and beyond you SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS. Ask them!!! Nothing wrong with asking lots of questions as you enter the NIL space!

*Encourage them to set up a true business entity, foundation, or corporation.  We would recommend they work a CPA to help you set up a business that aligns to your business plan. This can be started at any age, as the benefits could be significant for any student-athlete with a solid plan rooted in common-sense.

*Control your Intellectual Property! Buying a personal brand (name) website ASAP. I.e. YourName.Com especially for elite prospects can be important.   They will want to control this as it’s a way to control there brand long term.   If they have a personal brand logo designed already or planning one in the future make sure they have a copyright for it! 

*Smart Social: Clean and scrub all social channels to ensure credibility and to showcase themselves completely, not just as an athlete. Control there personal brand at all costs!  Become well rounded on social media by starting to post on all aspects of your life to create followers even before you start doing NIL deals.

*Personal Brand Vision Statement: Make sure they have planned and aligned what they personally want to represent.  Are they into fashion, farming, or whatever, then the vision statement should align to that statement? This guide will help them as to what they should and shouldn’t do (can help with recruiting honestly). Having this will also align your social activities or endorsements you might them to consider.

*FASFA Planning: Do they understand how NIL deals will impact there the tax/FASFA implications? Have they put money back? Do they realize you will have to disclose your NIL income on your FASFA when applying for financial aid for college?   

*Less is more. While its great to chase commercial deals, your athletes won’t have time to do a bunch of these deals nor actively pursue them, especially balancing school, training, practices, games and whatever is left relative to a social life.  Be smart in the early stages of NIL. Remember not every deal is a good deal (short and long term). And please don’t have them tweet out “My DMs are open” …. because honestly just like in life, you should want to be picky with who you do business with! 

*Put money back! Hopefully when they do enter into a NIL agreement they do that with a true business plan in mind. If they don’t, please ensure you understand the tax and FASFA implications. Holding some money back on each deal to ensure you are covered from a tax perspective is important. In addition, consider any expenses or tax write offs associated with your new ventures. 

*Review EVERYTHING and Be careful with agents. First and foremost, you need to have a contract for every deal you deal. Have someone read the legal terms of these agreements and understand your commitments and deliverables. These could be attorneys, agents or family business friends. These resources can be useful but their are a lot of areas to be eyes wide opened about when considering an agent or marketing representative. If presented with legal documents, make sure they have someone else review it. This could be very damaging very quickly, not to mention the implications on agent selection beyond moving into any professional sports career. Be smart, have them do there homework!  

We hope this check-list helps you as a Athletic Director or HS Coach. We have programs and offerings to help in each of these areas, so please reach out if we can help or visit or

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