East High’s Damani Barley, first Rochester athlete to announce NIL deal

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Damani Barley, one of Rochester’s top high school basketball players, has made a deal to profit from the use of his likeness and image by a local business.

Barley is a guard for the East High varsity team, coached by his father, Division V Basketball Hall of Famer Darrell. The deal will see the senior from the Rochester City School District to receive compensation for promoting a pizzeria on social networks.

Last October, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that it had revised its rule regarding amateur athletes in New York so that they could benefit from their name, image and/or likeness. This decision is often referred to as a “nil” arrangement.

“It’s different, the only (high school basketball player) from outside New York to do that,” Damani Barley said.

East High senior Damani Barley, a Greater Rochester high school basketball star, signs an indemnification agreement for the use of his name, image and likeness by a pizza joint.

When the NCAA began allowing athletes to remain eligible to play varsity sports and receive NIL compensation in July, it was only a matter of time before those arrangements would start showing up in high school sports.

In October, a NYSPHSAA official said “it was necessary” for their organization to adjust the rules “before this becomes a problem for a student-athlete.”

There are no eligibility issues for high school athletes with NIL offers provided there is no use of a school’s name, team or uniform, according to the NYSPHSAA. NYSPHSAA athletes are not permitted to represent their schools.

“Damani has a huge social media network,” said John Coraggioso, owner of Salvatore pizzeria on East Main Street in Rochester. “He will promote our brand.”

Damani Barley refused permission to share the compensation terms of his NIL deal with the pizzeria. He said he also had a deal in place to promote a hair salon in Rochester.

“It’s really new to me,” Damani Barley said. “It’s really surprising that something like this happened in Rochester, but it’s really happening all over the country.

East's Damani Barley stops for a jump shot.

“And that makes sense. You bring them more business.”

Darrell Barley said the concept of social media influence was also “really new” to him, but he agreed with his son’s business deal, which was struck by sports agency Glory2Glory .

“Why not?” Darrell Barley said after signing the pizzeria deal. “He worked a lot to be known. Being a good boy, a humble one, that’s fine.”

East High won the Section V Class A2 tournament on March 5. Damani Barley was named the tournament’s most valuable player after the Eagles beat Pittsford Sutherland 59-54.

Continued:East High heading for Division V men’s basketball title

The team’s third Sectional Championship in three years leads to a match against Class A1 Section V champion Pittsford Mendon on March 9, with the winner heading to the Regionals or Class A quarter-finals .

Damani Barley and his father said the deal with boutique Salvatore’s Pizzeria was signed on March 8.

“I’m pretty sure there will be more,” Damani Barley said. “It’s a bit like leading the way.

“We have a lot of talent here (in Rochester).”

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