TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In 2020, Florida passed a law allowing college athletes to earn money from endorsement deals, following approval from U.S. Congress and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The bill, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, took effect in the summer of 2021. State lawmakers are working on a potential update to the legislation, which will be reviewed in March’s legislative session.
The Florida bill followed the NCAA board of governors’ 2020 list of recommendations to allow what was reported by the Associated Press as a “free market ‘with guardrails'” to let them be paid for their endorsements, similar to non-collegiate players.
The legislation falls under a category called NIL, for names, images, and likenesses. Florida’s version, Senate Bill 646, took effect on July 1, 2021. Now, a similar bill introduced in the Florida House, House Bill 99, seeks to make 2023 the year that adjusts the previous law.
According to the text of the bill, college athletes will not be allowed to be compensated “for athletic performance or attendance at a particular institution.” Previously, the law had that provision, but with allowance for being paid by “a third party unaffiliated with the intercollegiate athlete’s postsecondary educational institution.” The third party provision was stricken, in the language of the newly proposed bill.
As proposed, the new version of the bill would instead allow “institution, entity, or officer, director, or employee of such institution or entity” to direct or provide compensation to a college athlete, so long as it “does not conflict with any provision of this section,” as related to the athlete’s name, image, or likeness.
An entity that, through a contract or agreement with a postsecondary educational institution, “provides disclosures, compliance, or educational services under this section for a postsecondary educational institution or an officer, director, or employee of such entity may not cause compensation to be directed to a current or prospective intercollegiate athlete for her or his name, image, or likeness,” according to the language of HB 99.
Additional provisions stipulate that college athletes, and their agents, cannot enter into contracts for compensation to use their name, image, or likeness, if the contract would conflict with their institution’s athletic program or the college or university itself.
If an educational institution asserts a conflict as a result of a contract, they must disclose the relevant conflicts to athletes and their representatives. If an athlete does enter an agreement, the contract must not include use of any images or institutional marks without the entity’s written consent.
Compensated intercollegiate athletes are also, through provisions of the proposed bill, not counted as employees of the institution based on their participation in athletic programs, if their name, image, or likeness are used to earn compensation.
Concerning liability, the bill also adds that an institution or its employees, including coaches, are not liable for damages to an athlete’s ability to earn compensation if their name, image, or likeness are used, due to resulting decisions or actions “routinely taken in the course of intercollegiate athletes.”
The institutions are also not required to “identify, create, facilitate, negotiate, or otherwise enable” an athlete’s opportunities to earn compensation for use of their name, image, or likeness. If the bill passes, the changes would take effect upon becoming law.