Southlake Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers, the nation’s top Class of 2022 recruit on the football field, is reportedly considering skipping his senior season with the Dragons and enrolling early at Ohio State in the fall to cash in on the new name, image and likeness (NIL) guidelines throughout college athletics.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports was first to report the news.
Ewers, a five-star high school recruit, already sports a splashy resume.
He threw for 6,445 yards, 73 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 450-of-643 (70.0%) passing in 22 games under center for the Dragons during the past two seasons. Ewers returned after receiving mid-season surgery for a core-muscle injury to lead Southlake Carroll to the Class 6A Division II state championship game and a 12-2 finish.
On top of receiving offers from programs throughout every Power Five conference in the country, he also has more than 82,000 Instagram followers and nearly another 23,000 on Twitter.
That all positions Ewers to earn big bucks when it comes to potential name, image and likeness sponsorship deals.
The only thing holding him back from cashing in?
Texas and the University Interscholastic League — the UIL’s constitution bans high school student-athletes from profiting off their name, image or likeness while still actively participating in UIL activities.
Specifically, Subsection 441 of the UIL’s constitution outlines the criteria for determining a student-athlete’s amateur status and eligibility at the high school level:
“(a) NOT AN AMATEUR. For purposes of competing in an athletic contest, a student in grades 9-12 is not an amateur if that individual, within the preceding 12 months:
(1) except as provided otherwise in this section, received money or other valuable consideration for participating in a UIL sponsored school sport;
(2) received valuable consideration for allowing his or her name to be used in promoting a product, plan or service related to a UIL sport or contest; or
(3) accepted money or other valuable consideration from school booster club funds for any non-school purpose.”
Those UIL regulations, and many like them in states around the country, governing amateurism and eligibility in high school sports are being more highly scrutinized in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to abolish the NCAA’s old amateurism rules and pave the way for athletes at the collegiate level to profit from their name, image and likeness.
The UIL has also pointed to Texas law — specifically SB 1385 which codified college athletes right to earn money off NIL — which currently prohibits student-athletes from profiting off NIL opportunities before enrolling at a university:
“(j) No individual, corporate entity, or other organization
(1) enter into any arrangement with a prospective
student athlete relating to the prospective student athlete’s name,
image, or likeness prior to their enrollment in an institution of
higher education; or
(2) use inducements of future name, image, and
likeness compensation arrangement to recruit a prospective student
athlete to any institution of higher education.”
That puts Ewers and his family in a pickle with a difficult question to answer: stay in high school for another run at a state championship or head to college early and cash in on NIL opportunities?
With his current social media following, his on-field performance and his visibility from being one of the nation’s top high school recruits, it’s not hyperbolic to suggest Ewers could be looking at a six or seven-figure payday if he were to leave high school early and enroll at Ohio State.
On the other hand, he’s set to return to a talented Southlake Carroll squad that will be a state championship contender in Class 6A and will still be on track to join the Buckeyes in January on campus. He’s far enough along already academically to graduate high school early and enroll at Ohio State as early as August.
Ewers and his family are expected to make their decision in the coming days or weeks, but regardless of what choice Ewers makes, his story will shape the precedent for high school athletes across Texas and the country looking to cash in on NIL moving forward.