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When Will WVSSAC Change Regulation Section 127-2-11 and Allow Student-Athletes to Profit from Their Name, Image, and Likeness?

Posted by Paul Saluja | Jun 13, 2024

The landscape of high school athletics is undergoing a significant transformation across the United States. With the US Supreme Court's landmark decision in Alston v. NCAA, there has been a strong push for athletes at all levels to gain more control and benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Despite this, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) has yet to update its regulations, specifically section 127-2-11, to allow student-athletes to profit from their NIL. This delay raises a crucial question: When will the WVSSAC adapt to the new reality and provide West Virginia's student-athletes with the opportunities they deserve? 

The Impact of Alston v. NCAA

The Alston v. NCAA ruling was a significant victory for athletes' rights, affirming that restrictions on educational benefits for college athletes violated antitrust laws. This decision has set a precedent, prompting various states to reconsider and revise their policies regarding NIL rights for both college and high school athletes.

The Current State of WVSSAC Regulation Section 127-2-11

WVSSAC regulation section 127-2-11 currently prohibits high school athletes in West Virginia from profiting from their NIL. This regulation stands in stark contrast to the progressive steps taken by other states, such as Colorado and Florida, where high school athletes are already benefiting from NIL deals. This outdated policy puts West Virginia's student-athletes at a distinct disadvantage, limiting their potential for personal and professional growth.

The Need for Change

Allowing student-athletes to profit from their NIL offers numerous benefits:

  1. Financial Support: Many student-athletes come from families that face financial challenges. NIL deals can provide much-needed financial support, helping cover costs related to education, training, and everyday expenses.

  2. Personal and Athletic Growth: NIL deals often come with unique opportunities such as training with professional athletes, participating in high-profile events, and receiving mentorship from industry experts. These experiences can significantly enhance a young athlete's development.

  3. Skill Development: Managing NIL agreements can teach athletes valuable life skills, including financial literacy, contract negotiation, and brand management. These skills are beneficial long after their athletic careers have ended.

  4. Competitive Fairness: As other states embrace NIL policies, West Virginia risks falling behind. Adapting WVSSAC regulations to allow NIL deals is crucial for maintaining a level playing field and ensuring that local athletes remain competitive.

A Call to Action for the WVSSAC

The WVSSAC needs to reconsider and revise regulation section 127-2-11 in light of the Alston v. NCAA decision and the evolving landscape of high school athletics. The following steps are essential:

  1. Engage Stakeholders: The WVSSAC should actively engage with student-athletes, parents, coaches, and legal experts to understand the benefits and address any concerns related to NIL deals.

  2. Review Best Practices: Look at states that have successfully implemented NIL policies for high school athletes. Learning from their experiences can help create a balanced and effective framework for West Virginia.

  3. Draft New Regulations: Develop and implement new regulations that allow student-athletes to profit from their NIL while ensuring that these opportunities are fair and equitable.

  4. Provide Education and Support: Offer resources and support to help student-athletes and their families navigate the complexities of NIL deals, ensuring they make informed decisions.


At Saluja Law, we firmly believe in advocating for the rights and opportunities of young athletes. The current restrictions imposed by the WVSSAC are outdated and limit the potential of West Virginia's student-athletes. The US Supreme Court's ruling in Alston v. NCAA has paved the way for change, and it is imperative that the WVSSAC acts swiftly to update regulation section 127-2-11.

West Virginia's young athletes deserve the same opportunities as their peers in other states. It's time for the WVSSAC to level the playing field and allow student-athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness. By embracing NIL rights, we can pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future in high school sports.

About the Author

Paul Saluja

Paul Saluja is a distinguished legal professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across a spectrum of legal domains. Graduating from West Virginia State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he continued his academic journey at Ohio Northern University, gr...

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