Some high school athletes in Alabama could potentially earn more than their coaches if legislation is passed to allow young players to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL), according to Dothan City Schools Superintendent Dennis Coe.

State Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika) pre-filed legislation in December for the upcoming session that would allow high school athletes in Alabama to profit off NIL like college athletics.

According to Business of College Sports, 31 states currently allow such payments to be paid to high school athletes by private businesses and individuals. After a United States Supreme Court ruling, the NCAA began allowing collegiate athletes to profit from NIL in 2021. 

Gray told 1819 News in an interview in December he began thinking about filing legislation for NIL at the high school level in Alabama after the Georgia High School Association passed guidelines in October allowing for high school athletes to receive NIL money.

Gray said, "It's going to happen at some point, and I just feel like student-athletes should be able to monetize off their name, image, and likeness." 

However, Coe said at a Dothan City Commission meeting on Tuesday that such legislation would "create some monumental changes for athletics."

"Right now there are 30 states that have NIL in high school. There's already a pre-filed bill in Alabama to have that next year, so all indications are that that type of climate is coming to high school athletics. We've got to work diligently to prepare for that, and that's going to create some monumental changes for athletics all across the country just like NIL has had those changes in college athletics, it's going to have the same change in high school. We hope to stay ahead of the curve. I hope there's going to be legislation that's going to be a little bit more restrictive so we can keep things under control," Coe said at the meeting. "If not, you know as well as I do the challenges that the colleges are having are going to be passed down to the high schools. It's hard to imagine a high school player that's going to be paid to play high school football, but that's where we're headed."

Coe continued, "We had a high school player this past year right out of high school was offered a $50,000 signing bonus to go to Oklahoma. So, in some instances, you're going to have high school players that have the potential to make more than their coaches."

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