Area Coaches Comment On NCAA Ruling On Athletes Profiting From Use of Likeness

Ewers Southlake QB
Southlake quarterback Quinn Ewers warming up Photo by John Askew

NCAA Ruling On Athletes Profiting From Name/Likeness

The NCAA sure knows how to bring out a debate – and this one’s a doozy.

With its recent ruling that college athletes can profit financially from the use of their likeness or name, folks across America are arguing about whether they should be paid for such. On one side, people are saying it’s about time the most talented and popular athletes get financial compensation. On the other side, the belief is that by receiving a scholarship they are already getting paid.

Will this new ruling have any sort of major effect on high school players, especially the most talented ones? While the rule itself doesn’t apply to prep sports, some wonder if it could impact how high school players look at their future while still competing at the high school level.

For example, Southlake Carroll High School quarterback Quinn Ewers has announced he is foregoing his senior season as a Dragon and graduating early to enroll at Ohio State, where he plans to play his college ball.

Several area athletic directors/coaches took time to answer a few questions and share their thoughts about the new rule and what it might mean to high school sports.

FDN: Will this make more athletes want to graduate early?

Todd York, Midlothian athletic director: I don’t think so. Early guess is only .02% will make any money.

Philip O’Neal, Mansfield AD: Possibly, but yet to be seen.

Andrea Robinson, DeSoto head girls basketball coach: I do. I absolutely 100% believe you’re going to have more kids graduate early to try and get there (college) and take advantage of this. I don’t know if the girls will as much, but I definitely think the boys will.

Troy Mathieu, Grand Prairie chief of athletics: No, we do not believe that more student-athletes will choose to graduate early.

Claude Mathis, DeSoto head football coach: They may. My kids are already graduating early.

Nicole Collins, Cedar Hill AD: I definitely would not be surprised. It makes sense to me. You’ve got a chance to change the dynamics of your life, why put that off another year? It’s going to be really vital that coaches make sure kids are doing their best academically so they can graduate early and take advantage of this.

FDN: Will this result in any changes in coaching styles or other adjustments?

York: I hope not.

O’Neal: I don’t believe it will initially at the high school level, but I definitely believe there is potential for that to occur at the collegiate level. If the college coach plays a role in hooking up the student athlete with endorsements to lure them to their school, it will be interesting to see how that relationship evolves.

Robinson: I certainly can see that. Athletics are already changing and kids are making big decisions. I don’t know if coaching styles will change, but we’re already seeing changes in practice, holding kids out of meaningless kids.

Mathieu: We do not foresee any changes in coaching styles that will be made just because of the new NIL rules at the college level. All of our coaches are committed to developing their student-athletes to reach their full potential.

Mathis: I’m still trying to get a grasp on it, and I’m sure a lot of other coaches are also.

Collins: There was a school a couple years ago and they were able to do what they called “load management” with a girl, but they were in a weak district. We’re in a very tough district. I wouldn’t change practice, but what I do think is going to change is more focus on making sure our kids are mentally prepared for this. You’re going to have kids going from being 18 and making no money to now making five and even six figures.

FDN: Will this result in more players focusing on training outside of schools with elite clubs?

York: It might for the very elite athletes.

O’Neal: I guess there is that possibility if elite clubs are more connected in landing student athletes endorsement deals.

Robinson: Yes. I spoke at a clinic and said we have to take ownership of our coaching, developing and investing in our players, keeping it in-house, selling our school brand. I think especially the smaller schools should watch out for this.

Mathieu: We cannot forecast any changes to the training methods of our student-athletes.

Mathis: I can see that, especially if you’re not playing at a school with an elite program. I really do believe, also, that kids may start choosing other schools with elite programs so they can get spotlighted.

Collins: I think it could go that route, but I would hope (college) coaches would sit and council with high school coaches. I think the advantage they (players) have to understand, and this is something college coaches tell me, is that the closest you can get to a college program is a high school program. You’re being held accountable for your grades, going to practice six days a week, being responsible, it’s as close as you get to college.

FDN: Any additional thoughts?

York: I wonder when/if it will trickle down to high school sports?

O’Neal: It will be very interesting to see how this evolves. It will definitely play a role in changing the landscape of collegiate athletics. Time will tell to what degree.

Robinson: I am going to sit back and watch the impact. They came up with a rule
that could benefit athletes, but I’m curious to see how it’s going to impact all levels, from high schools to the pros.

Mathieu: As a member of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), Grand
Prairie ISD schools are required to adhere to the rules of the UIL. The UIL’s current rules clearly state that in order to be eligible to compete in UIL sports, student-athletes must be amateurs. Thus, our student-athletes will not be allowed to benefit from their name, image and likeness while they are participating in UIL sports.

Mathis: I like it (the rule change), bit I think they’ve opened up a can of worms.

Collins: I think it’s about time. I went to Baylor and I remember hearing years ago
that when RG3 (Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III) played there they profited so many millions of dollars, it was a ridiculous amount. But colleges need to educate these athletes also on how to deal with that money and how to be responsible with it. I think it’s good, but I am very curious to see where it all goes.

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters