The NCAA finally got their antiquated ball rolling earlier this year by allowing collegiate athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). In April we reported that the new rules are expected to be in place by September 2021.
Now, Florida has taken things a step further. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week that will allow athletes in their state to benefit from NIL, effective July 1, 2021. Florida joins Colorado and California as the only states to pass their own NIL bill, with Florida’s having the most aggressive state date. The bills in Colorado and California were not expected to be put into place until 2023.
But Florida’s bill goes further than the NCAA. It’s law requires that payments to athletes must be “commensurate with market value” in order to “preserve the integrity, quality, character, and amateur nature of intercollegiate athletics and to maintain a clear separation between amateur intercollegiate athletics and professional sports.” It also explicitly states that colleges and universities are not allowed to pay athletes directly.
This sets the stage for chaos. NCAA president Mark Emmert and other college sports stakeholders are strongly opposed to having individual states create new laws that dictate the rules for how college athletes can profit from the use of their NIL. Emmert is concerned that a “patchwork” of state laws will cause student-athletes to pick schools based on where they can make the most money and give some athletic programs an unequal recruiting advantage. To prevent the probable chaos, the NCAA will have to move much faster than their current process outlines and it will likely need to adjust its approach to accommodate these state initiatives.