Florida schools soon could see a potential competitive disadvantage in name, image and likeness (NIL) wiped away after a legislative subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
The issue stems from one part of the state’s current name, image and likeness law: caused compensation. It prohibits schools and their employees from causing compensation to be directed to players.
Other states don’t have such provisions or have repealed them. If schools in Tennessee or Alabama can facilitate deals for their players, that could put Florida’s programs behind, as Seminoles athletic director Michael Alford suggested last year.
Rep. Chip LaMarca’s bill would change that. The Republican from Lighthouse Point has offered tweaks through House Bill 99, which went before the postsecondary education and workforce subcommittee Tuesday. His bill would remove the caused compensation ban, allowing coaches and schools to help players secure deals. But just because schools may be involved does not mean that they have to do so.
“Your college football coach or your soccer coach is not your agent,” LaMarca said.
Schools still will not pay players or recruits directly. They can only facilitate deals.
“This would not allow anyone to induce or offer something to get a student to come to a school,” LaMarca said.
The subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend the bill favorably. Rep. Fred Hawkins (R-St. Cloud) said he hopes an improved law lets Florida retain top athletes while attracting talent from elsewhere.
The bill does not include anything about players’ employment status. LaMarca’s first proposal said athletes are not school employees, regardless of any name, image and likeness deals. LaMarca removed that language because of ongoing court cases over players’ employment status but said he could come back to it if the issue “doesn’t get rectified properly.”
The meeting came amidst the most high-profile name, image and likeness controversy yet. Blue-chip quarterback Jaden Rashada signed with the Gators last month but has not yet joined them because of a multimillion-dollar NIL dispute. His situation was not discussed specifically, but legislators raised concerns over “bad actors.” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) brought up “really terrible stories of folks signing things without actually understanding what they are signing.”
The legislation aims to address that by having schools hold workshops on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and life skills.
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