Could college athletes profit from adult entertainment?

It depends which universities they attend.
Tampa Bay has the fourth-highest number of adult entertainment options per capita in the country, a Monday WalletHub study said. | [Times file photo]
Tampa Bay has the fourth-highest number of adult entertainment options per capita in the country, a Monday WalletHub study said. | [Times file photo]
Published July 23, 2021

TALLAHASSEE — A “leading adult webcam company” is looking to cash in on recent changes allowing college athletes in Florida and across the nation to earn money off their names, images and likenesses.

But whether athletes can profit from the company’s offer, or others like it, depends on which universities they attend.

In a promotional email Tuesday, the Miami-based company CamSoda announced it is “opening itself up for business and looking to sign a handful of NCAA athletes to endorsement deals to represent the XXX brand.”

In the email also sent to reporters, the company included an email address that athletes “interested in working with CamSoda” could reach out to.

“This in turn will help to grow their own brand. This marks the first time that an adult company has looked to partner with NCAA athletes. Very much like how Barstool Sports has gone about this, CamSoda is looking to do the same,” the company wrote.

Florida lawmakers in 2020 passed a bill that set the stage for college athletes to be able to profit from their names, images and likenesses. The law went into effect this month, after the state university system’s Board of Governors adopted regulations on athlete pay in June.

Related: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs Florida name, image and likeness bill into law

The Board of Governors did not respond to questions from The News Service of Florida about whether athletes would run afoul of the regulations if they had endorsement deals with CamSoda or other adult entertainment companies.

However, the law and the board’s regulations don’t prohibit athletes from signing contracts with specific categories of businesses. Such rules are left up to individual universities.

The News Service reviewed the name, image and likeness policies of several universities to examine what types of businesses their student-athletes can, and can’t, contract with.

Florida State University’s guidelines issue a warning for athletes essentially to use discretion when evaluating business contracts, but the guidelines include no outright ban on working with adult-themed companies.

“Student-athletes should fully evaluate any potential consequences to their personal brand before engaging in NIL (name, image and likeness) activities, in particular those involving gambling/sports wagering, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana/CBD, athletic performance-enhancing supplements, and adult entertainment,” the university’s rules say.

Florida Atlantic University, however, goes further. The university’s rules say it “may prohibit a student athlete’s involvement in NIL activities that conflict with FAU’s institutional values,” which it says includes adult entertainment, gambling, tobacco products and drugs and alcohol if the athlete is younger than 21.

Get insights into Florida politics

Get insights into Florida politics

Subscribe to our free Buzz newsletter

We’ll send you a rundown on local, state and national politics coverage every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options
Related: What we do and don't know about name, image, likeness regulations at smaller colleges

Florida Gulf Coast University set a similar but more stringent rule, mandating that athletes “will not be permitted” to sign business contracts related to adult entertainment, gambling, alcohol and tobacco and performance-enhancing drugs.

The University of Florida’s rules have a narrow set of prohibited contracts but make no mention of adult entertainment.

“Student-athletes will not be permitted to enter into NIL agreements with gambling/sports wagering vendors or any vendors associated with athletic performance enhancing drugs,” the university’s guidelines say.

Athletes at the University of Central Florida are prohibited from signing contracts for compensation related to “gambling/sports wagering vendors, any vendors associated with athletic performance-enhancing drugs, or any vendors associated with NCAA banned substances.”

Athletes at all universities are required to disclose contracts for compensation to their schools under the Board of Governors regulations. But each of the universities makes clear that the required disclosure is not part of “an approval process” but is a requirement under state law.

The Board of Governors’ regulations also say that student-athletes can only use logos and images affiliated with universities if the schools give approval. However, athletes are allowed to make “a reference to the student-athlete’s involvement in intercollegiate athletics and a reference to the university they attend” in any business arrangement.

Most universities have provisions in their rules requiring athletes to get the schools’ approval before holding “NIL activities” in athletic department facilities or on campus.

Related: How are college freshmen handling name, image and likeness deals?

A statement from CamSoda Vice President Daryn Parker indicated that the company’s offer isn’t explicitly an effort to have athletes perform sexual acts on camera — even suggesting the webcam service could be used to review game film.

“Not only will we promote our CamSoda athletes across our social channels, but as part of their partnership with us the athletes can stream themselves live and give fans intimate access to their personal lives. For example, they can break down their recent performance/game tape and provide in-depth, behind-the-scenes insights or hold Q&A sessions. Basically give people what they’ve been clamoring for for many years,” Parker wrote.

The company did not respond to a question from the News Service on Wednesday about whether any athletes had expressed interest in the offer.

By Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida