In Council News, Isaiah Thomas, News by PHL Council

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Coach and Councilmember, Isaiah Thomas, will put financial literacy and consumer protection at the forefront of Student Athlete NIL deals

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At Large) will introduce the Philly NIL Youth Protection Act to provide financial literacy and consumer protection for youth athletes with prospective NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals. These deals are already at the collegiate level and are already on their way to high school athletes. With the Philly NIL Youth Protection Act, Philadelphia will lead the nation with this first-in-the-nation set of protections with a proactive approach.

If passed, the Philly NIL Youth Protection Act would provide educational materials on NIL deals to students and their families including information on the likelihood of acquiring a NIL, the benefits as well as risks of a deal, and guidance on the various types of NIL deals. The bill would also establish the creation of the Philly NIL Youth Protection Fund which would equip families of students with prospective NIL deals with a city-vetted lawyer and/or accountant, to assist in navigating and negotiating these deals. 

 “NIL deals are coming to high school athletes. Philly can lead by providing proactive safeguards to these families,” said Coach and Councilmember Isaiah Thomas. “By putting financial education and consumer protection at the forefront of these deals, Philly is sending the message that you can play, work and grow here. Philly’s professional teams and fans are having a moment – this bill will ensure that this moment extends to the next generation of Philly leaders.”

States across America are providing guidance on which students can and cannot receive Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals. Approximately 15 states have prohibited these deals and approximately 15 states have allowed these deals with others, including Pennsylvania, to have pending guidance based on relevant membership consideration. In Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) does not currently allow student athletes to receive NIL deals although is expected to ease these restrictions in the coming weeks. 

“We are expecting PIAA to allow student athletes to receive NIL deals,” said PIAA District XII Chair Michael Hawkins. “PIAA is excited to see youth athletes rise to fame in Philadelphia but we need to make sure this rise is done responsibly. We are grateful to PIAA XII board member and basketball coach, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, for putting young people first. By requiring financial literacy and consumer protection in youth NIL deals, Philadelphia sports will continue to lead for generations to come.”

The Philly NIL Youth Protection Act requires the creation and development of educational materials to be distributed to all Philadelphia students who are eligible for NIL deals. The educational materials will outline relevant definitions, data, and risks/benefits and be graphically rich, easy to understand, and provide relevant and up-to-date resources. The Philly NIL Youth Protection Fund will be established and replenished annually. This Fund will be accessible to Philadelphia resident high school students and their families with AGI of less than $150,000. The Fund will provide up to 5 billable hours with a lawyer and/or accountant to provide families with contract negotiation support. 

The Philly NIL Youth Protection Act is led by Councilmember Thomas and cosponsored by Councilmembers Bass, Driscoll, O’Neill, Brooks, Gauthier, Jones, Gilmore Richardson, and Squilla. 

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