NIL NETWORK INSIGHT
Recap: It was a whirlwind 48 hours in Florida. First, an amendment was sneakily added to a charter school bill that, if signed by Governor DeSantis, would push back the NIL start date by a year (July 1, 2022). After an uproar from administrators, coaches and athletes, an amendment was introduced to revert back to the original July 1, 2021 date.
Observations: The explanation given for adding the original amendment was that the legislator wanted a written statement from the NCAA saying that they wouldn’t punish institutions, teams, and/or athletes for following the new state law. However, the NCAA has indicated that they have no intent to punish those who follow their state NIL laws. Another theory for the amendment is that the Florida lawmakers needed a diversion from their highly controversial anti-trans bill. They knew that pushing NIL back by a year would create controversy, essentially allowing them quietly pass the anti-trans legislation. And if that was their real intent, it worked, as the anti-trans bill hardly made headlines.
Florida lawmakers passed a bill Friday afternoon that reinstates July as the start date for allowing college athletes to make money from endorsements, reversing a brief push to delay the new opportunities by a year.
Politicians hurried to introduce an amended bill Friday on the final day of the state’s current legislative session. The new amendment, if signed by the Gov. Ron DeSantis as expected, will make sure that Florida is among the first states that open the door for college athletes to pursue opportunities to profit from their names, images and likenesses (NIL). The Sunshine State was first to push up the timeline for allowing these types of deals when it passed the original law last June.
Florida’s push to be at the forefront of NIL changes in colleges sport was in jeopardy earlier this week. The state senate passed an education bill Wednesday that was largely unrelated to athletics but included a last-minute, surprise amendment to delay the implementation of the law until July 2022.
“I was devastated. It was awful. We promised these kids something we could deliver,” said Rep. Chip LaMarca, who wrote the original name, image and likeness bill in Florida and pushed for Friday’s amendment. “I felt like we were letting these kids down. I was angry and determined to get it out back on.”
LaMarca said support from prominent coaches, athletes and athletic directors from the state’s biggest college teams who spoke out Thursday in strong and nearly universal opposition to a delay was an important factor in getting the initial date back.
“ThankYou to our state’s leadership for their continued support of our student-athletes and promoting necessary change for their name, image and likeness rights,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell tweeted Friday. “By listening and deciding to #KeepTheDate the state of Florida remains a leader in student-athlete empowerment.”