Maryland State Delegate Jay Walker has introduced Maryland House Bill 1431, entitled Public High Schools-Student Athletes-Compensation for Name, Image and Likeness, which would authorize public high school athletes in the state to enter into name, image and likeness contracts (NIL), provided certain conditions are met, including the co-signing of any agreement by a parent or guardian. The proposed legislation, which would not take effect until July 1, 2023, would amend existing Maryland Education legislation and add to Section 7-129 and provide these specific rights to any public high school athlete who participates in an interscholastic athletic program at any public high school in the state.

The bill would prevent the State Superintendent, any County Board, or any individual public schools from establishing any rule, requirement, standard or other limitation preventing student-athletes from earning compensation for their name, image or likeness. The same limitation preventing limitations on NIL rights would also apply to any athletic association within the state, including the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. It would also prevent any rule that would restrict a school from participating in high school athletics if a student-athlete from that school has received compensation for name, image and likeness rights.

The proposed legislation also restricts any public school or any groups affiliated with the school from providing compensation to the student-athlete for their NIL rights or from limiting the student-athlete from using their NIL for a commercial purpose when the student-athlete is not involved in official team activities.

As with most state NIL laws legislating college athletes, the bill provides student-athletes with the right to secure representation for contracts or legal matters.

In addition, the legislation does provide a few limitations to the student-athlete. Specifically,

the bill provides that the terms of the contract cannot be in conflict with any high school athletic program contract and that the student-athlete does not have the legal right to utilize the school’s name, trademarks, logos or other intellectual property owned by the school in any NIL agreement.

If passed by Maryland state legislators and signed into law, Maryland would join other states including California, New York and New Jersey, which have already authorized NIL rights to the high school athletes in their states.

Unlike Maryland which would protect NIL rights pursuant to state law, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has taken the position that their rules never prohibited athletes from profiting from their NIL rights, as the CIF is unwilling to declare an athlete ineligible for also participating in the state’s film and television economy. However, the CIF prohibits athletes from using their school’s name, logos, uniforms, or marks in endorsements.

New York and New Jersey have also joined California in granting high school athletes NIL rights. While the New York legislature has yet to pass a state law granting NIL rights to college athletes in the state, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) executive committee has revised the state’s amateur rule to allow high school athletes to benefit from their NIL rights without jeopardizing their amateur status.

New Jersey has also empowered high school athletes with specific NIL  endorsement rights. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s executive committee (NJSIAA) approved an NIL proposal to permit athletes to benefit from their NIL rights. The New Jersey Association has adopted the California model by prohibiting athletes from using their school logos and marks. New Jersey athletes also are prohibited from endorsing certain categories of products and services, including adult entertainment, alcohol, cannabis, gambling, and firearms.

Jackson Lewis’ Sports Industry Group will continue to monitor the ongoing NIL issues on the federal and state level and the impact on the sports legal landscape. Please feel free to reach out to any member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group with questions.


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Photo of Gregg E. Clifton Gregg E. Clifton

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in…

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. He serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters and has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings. In addition, he has handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions. Mr. Clifton has also worked extensively in the area of agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents’ work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, he spent six years as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Team Sports for Gaylord Sports Management. He also served as President of the Athlete and Entertainment Division for famed sports attorney Bob Woolf’s firm, Woolf Associates, in Boston.

Mr. Clifton began his career as an Associate at Jackson Lewis where he focused his practice on traditional labor law. He continues to counsel clients in the areas of collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters.

Mr. Clifton frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools, including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University and Arizona State University, and bar associations regarding sports law issues, including agent regulation and salary arbitration. He is also often cited as an expert source in national news media for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports.