Florida to allow college athletes to make money from sports fame

New law goes into effect July 2021

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill into law that will allow college student-athletes to be financially compensated for their name, image or likeness.

DeSantis signed the collegiate athletics bill at Hecht Athletic Center at the University of Miami, alongside former and current college athletes.

The bill allows athletes to earn money through social media and other platforms as well as other opportunities, like paid endorsement deals.

“If EA Sports wants to do NCAA football, and they’re going to have some of these guys who, you know, are great players and they’re going to use their name image and likeness ... then there can be some compensation for that,” DeSantis said.

The governor said the monetization of an athlete’s likeness would face rules and regulations.

“It’s not necessarily going to be the Wild West. There’s definitely going to be rules and regulations, and that will all be done by the Board of Governors and the other entities involved here," DeSantis said.

The Florida law becomes effective in July 2021, according to DeSantis. By then, both the NCAA and Congress could have rules or legislation in place to lift restrictions on college athletes being paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses.

Florida is the third state, joining California and Colorado, to pass an NIL law targeting current NCAA rules that restrict college athlete compensation.

Florida's law, however, increases the urgency for the NCAA to act because it goes into effect 18 months earlier than California's and Colorado's. More than 20 more states are working on similar legislation.

The NCAA’s board of governors signed off in April on recommendations to allow athletes access to a free market — with “guardrails” — while also emphasizing that it will need help from Congress to avoid a patchwork of state laws. The NCAA wants its own legislation ready for a vote in January.

Federal lawmakers have expressed concerns about the NCAA’s desire and ability to regulate NIL compensation. They have also said an antitrust exemption for the NCAA is unlikely, but they could move on national NIL legislation later this year.