This state champion sophomore who made an LPGA cut has forfeited her high school eligibility

Mia Hammond, a New Albany sophomore and last season’s Ohio Division I girls golf individual state champion, has signed with a sports management company for name, image and likeness representation — a move that forfeits her high school eligibility.

Columbus-based Sterling Sports Management announced the partnership Tuesday morning, and Hammond’s father and coach, Tom, confirmed her decision to The Dispatch. Mia Hammond has not signed any NIL deals but there are “irons in the fire,” Tom Hammond said.

“It’s more about representation and guidance (through the NIL process) than anything else,” Tom Hammond said. “We’ve had a lot of companies reach out to represent Mia and we don’t want to do anything wrong to jeopardize her college eligibility.”

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., currently permit NIL for high school athletes, but Ohio is not among them. An Ohio High School Athletic Association referendum to allow NIL, as the state does for college athletes, failed by a 68-32% margin in May 2022 in a vote of member schools.

OHSAA bylaw 4-10-2 states that “an athlete forfeits amateur status, and thus interscholastic athletic eligibility, if any of the following standards of amateurism are violated … (including) entering into an agreement with a sports or marketing agent.”

2023 Kroger Queen City Championship
2023 Kroger Queen City Championship

Mia Hammond gets ready to tee off on the 11th hole during the second round of the 2023 Kroger Queen City Championship at Kenwood Country Club in Madeira, Ohio. (Photo: Liz Dufour/The Enquirer)

Hammond competed in two LPGA Tour events last year, the Dana Open in Sylvania and the Kroger Queen City Classic in Cincinnati. She made the cut in her LPGA debut in Sylvania, tying for 26th place, but fell short in Cincinnati, and participated in the World Junior Girls Championship in October in Ontario.

“We started talking about (leaving high school golf) last summer,” Tom Hammond said. “We didn’t see her popularity taking off this quickly.”

Mia Hammond has led New Albany to district championships each of the past two seasons, extending the team’s streak to six. She shot rounds of 67 and 69 at state last fall for a two-day score of 136 that set the Division I tournament record, and the Eagles tied Rocky River Magnificat for second place behind Dublin Jerome.

Hammond tied for fourth at state as a freshman.

“The high school season takes a toll as far as the time commitment and the number of tournaments they play,” Tom Hammond said. “It’s a lot of time between (amateur) tournaments and high schools, and typically (the high school season) is when she would take a break from tournaments. And it’s not about having nothing left to prove in high school, although she’d have loved to have won a championship with her team.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek