THSCA announces new partnership with Eccker Sports to help coaches navigate Name, Image, and Likeness
HOUSTON - The Texas High School Coaches Association is "not promoting" Name, Image and Likeness at the high school level. That is not changing.
But the association knows that NIL is one of the hottest topics across the country right now and has made a move to arm its more than 24,700 member coaches with the tools to make them well-equipped to educate their student-athletes on NIL.
On Monday, the THSCA partnered with Eccker Sports to provide educational services and resources to help high school coaches, administrators, student-athletes, and their parents and guardians navigate the challenges that Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) contracts are bringing to high school sports.
"We're in the process of keeping our coaches on the front porch of the recruiting process," THSCA Executive Director Joe Martin said. "As soon as we heard anything about NLI two years ago we started looking for someone that could help educate us and then our coaches. The Eccker Sports group is the group.
"They are going to be able to provide accurate and current information. Our coaches are going to be up to date immediately."
With a quick internet search on NIL comes plenty of information but with that also comes plenty of "misinformation" on the topic.
For North Shore head coach Jon Kay and others, they have been seeking "vetted and up to date" information that they can use as a resource when talking with their players.
They are faced with questions such as what is legal and what is illegal? What kind of questions should we be asking on our visits to schools? Is this coming to the high school level in Texas?
"The focus for us right now in the State of Texas is our kids in college or trying to get to the next level," Kay said. "I anticipate some changes in that as well. We're just trying to stay in front of the curve and provide the right information to people that are thoroughly confused by what they see in the media."
Summer Creek coach Kenny Harrison added: "If we can get accurate information and educate our parents it would be huge. I think the main question kids would like to know is when they get to college and sign an NLI, how does that affect grants and things of that nature. There's a lot of information that kids will be looking to get before college as well as parents.
"For us to be able to give parents this information on the high school level is very important because parents on this level have the tendency to trust and go to the coaches for all accurate information."
Currently in the United States, only nine states have laws that permit athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. Sixteen states (including Washington, D.C.) are considering adopting new laws, while 26, including Texas, prohibit it all together at the high school level.
According to Martin, there is belief among the leadership that new legislation will be presented in the Texas Legislature come January when the new session is set to begin in Austin.
"NIL changes daily," Martin said. "We will follow the legislation starting in January and determine where we think that puts the State of Texas and what is best. We don't know really what's going to come out and how that's going to be presented. We are not promoting NIL at the high school level at this point."
From the high school coach's perspective, Kay said he has talked with other high school coaches in California and Louisiana and are dealing with NIL.
He doesn't know what the future holds in Texas as far as NLI at the high school level, but Kay said that he wants to "stay in front of the curve".
"We'll deal with it one day at a time," Kay said. "Hopefully a little bit more of an organized and efficient manner than we saw from our college counterparts. It is so new that we're just trying to make sure that we have the right information to make those decisions if and when the time comes."
Harrison added: "I know this is something we will have to deal with in the very near future. So, I think it is important that we're educated on this, so when it presents itself, we're prepared to deal with it and take it head on."
According to a news release, Eccker Sports offers a comprehensive service, including a video curriculum of six module courses online that will educate users on the history of NIL, key terms and concepts, and best practices. Additionally, the Eccker Sports resource hub has the most detailed library of NIL information for the high school market, including articles, state laws, abstracts, summaries, bylaws, interpretations, as well as college and university policies and procedures.
To access all information provided by Eccker Sports, schools have to register for an annual license at the cost of $1,500. Once that is done, families can register for just $25 per year to access the same information.
Along with the Texas High School Coaches Association, Eccker Sports is also working with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, the Alabama Football Coaches Association and the Tennessee Football Coaches Association.
MORE REACTION ON PARTNERSHIP
Lee Wiginton, Allen HC
"I think it is incredible. I applaud the leadership of our association in getting this education piece out there. There's just so much unknown about NLI right now. We've heard about it but when we do hear about it, we talk bad about it or brush it under the rug. We do that because we simply don't, or I don't know anything about it. I'm so ill-equipped, I can't educate our kids or talk to our coaching staff. Just to have the ability to have something that can help families and our athletes who are here and have gone off to college, it's just a no-brainer. There was a need."
Mark Soto, Converse Judson HC
"You add NLI to [recruiting] and it makes it very tough for both parents and kids to pick a school that is right for their child because now you're throwing a lot of money into the factor. For us to have the option to find great information, vetted information that is true and we can sit down with parents and talk with them is huge. Because parents trust the coaches and we have to have the information to make the best decision for their child and for their child to understand what's about to go down in the next chapter in their life. It's very important for us coaches to have this education because education is power."