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Should the WIAA allow high school athletes to get paid through NIL deals?

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 19:23:24-04

MADISON, Wis. — It's a question that's been getting some mixed reactions. Should high school athletes be able to cash in on their name, image, and likeness, or NIL?

"I think it could definitely be a cool opportunity for high schoolers," said Oak Creek softball second baseman, Natalie Fields.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota State High School League board joined the handful of other state high schools to approve a NIL policy that would allow student-athletes to get paid through endorsement and sponsorship deals. The move now has many wondering what, if anything, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) will do.

"It can help you pay for college, it could help you pay for school," said Fields.

Some parents and coaches are still hesitant.

Jeff Trask has been the head coach of the Oak Creek softball team for 10 years. He says while he's all for kids making money, he thinks NIL agreements would add too much pressure.

"I'd hate to see somebody take advantage of kids and exploit them. Kids have enough on their plates. We ask them to do a lot out of the season. We ask them to do a lot in season," said Trask.

Troy Fields, whose daughter has been playing softball since she was seven years old, says he sees both pros and cons of NIL approval.

"I see benefits for kids to have financial means to get to a college," said Troy. "The concerns I would have would be just people doing things for the wrong reason.​ Colleges can have deep pockets and can be very influential onto a 16, 17,18-year-old boy or girl, regardless of the sport, to influence their decisions."

TMJ4 asked the WIAA if it was considering changing its policy. In a statement, the group said it will continue to assess the impact NIL has on athletics.

Until then, Wisconsin high school athletes will just have to wait and see.

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