High school fall athletes can return to campuses for summer conditioning Monday (today), and there will likely be two hot topics of discussion: how athletes are able to be back on campus again (although six feet apart) for the first time in three months and two days … and how Florida collegiate athletes will be able to profit as such starting in the summer of 2021.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that new bill late Friday afternoon that would allow college athletes in the state to make money from endorsements starting next summer. The college sports industry generates billions of dollars through the NCAA each year, and this creates opportunities for the athletes to benefit from it.
DeSantis — who played college baseball while at Yale University — called it “fundamentally unfair” that the current structure prohibits college athletes from receiving any compensation.
In 2017, UCF football player Donald De La Haye drew notable attention when the NCAA told him to delete or demonetize his YouTube Channel, which referred to himself as a college football player, in order to stay on the team, as the NCAA forbids athletes from profiting off their athletic ability aside from their scholarships. De La Haye chose to leave the team and continue his YouTube career.
Florida’s law is similar to those passed in California and Colorado in the last year, but those don’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023, and many other states are considering similar proposals, but Florida’s legislation would be the first to take effect.
This Florida law includes restrictions that payment to athletes must be “commensurate with market value” in order to “maintain a clear separation between amateur intercollegiate athletics and professional sports.”
To realize how wide-reaching this would be in Florida, keep in mind that the state of Florida has seven large-class college football programs: the University of Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCF, South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International. A handful of others play lower-level Division I sports, like Stetson, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University.
According to an ESPN report, The NCAA’s board of governors said in April that it supported a proposal to allow athletes to accept endorsement money with some restrictions or “guardrails” designed to maintain a clear distinction between college sports and professional leagues.
Florida lawmakers such as state Rep. Chip LaMarca, who was instrumental in crafting the state’s new law, are not concerned with any legal challenges the NCAA might mount in the future. LaMarca and DeSantis both said they see Florida’s new law as an important victory for college athletics.
“For far too long, the collegiate athletic system professionalized everyone associated with athletics except for the young women and men who put in all the hard work,” LaMarca said Friday. “Today we changed that.”