South Dakota High School Activities Association Approves New NIL Guidelines for High School Athletes

The South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) has approved new guidelines that allow high school athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) under specific conditions. The amendment, which passed with a vote of 115-7, will take effect on July 1.

The current SDHSAA bylaws prohibit students from profiting from their name or image in connection to their athletic identity. However, the changing landscape of social media and other modern revenue streams prompted the need for updated guidelines. The new amendment aims to balance allowing athletes to benefit financially while maintaining the integrity of high school sports.

The guidelines specify that:

  • Activities must not interfere with academic responsibilities.
  • Remuneration must not be tied to athletic performance or used as an inducement to attend or transfer to a particular school.
  • Payments cannot come from schools or school-affiliated entities.
  • School or SDHSAA logos, uniforms, and facilities cannot be used in NIL activities.
  • Promotion of activities related to alcohol, tobacco, vaping, controlled substances, gambling, and other illegal activities is prohibited.
  • Schools cannot facilitate relationships between students and commercial entities.

SDHSAA Executive Director Dr. Daniel Swartos emphasized the importance of these guidelines in providing clear boundaries for students and their families, and aligning with policies already revised by over 30 other states. The amendment also aims to provide a framework for the SDHSAA to navigate NIL challenges effectively. While the number of students benefiting from NIL deals is expected to be low, these guidelines ensure that the SDHSAA can manage NIL opportunities without compromising the values of high school athletics.