Florida Law Allows College Coaches, Athletic Depts to Facilitate NIL Deals
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
- The law allows college coaches, athletic directors, and other athletic department staff to assist athletes in inking name, image, and likeness deals.
- Prior to the new law, it had been illegal for athletic staff at Florida's colleges and universities to help athletes with their NIL deals.
- The new law still requires teams and coaches to follow NCAA rules that ban recruiting inducements or pay-to-play agreements.
Florida has shaken the sports world with a new law that makes it legal for college coaches, athletic directors, and other athletic department staff in the state to assist their athletes who are seeking to enrich themselves with name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals.
The law, which is likely to spur copycat legislation in other states, took effect immediately when signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in February. It repeals restrictions set in 2020 when Florida became the second state after California to adopt an NIL law for its colleges and universities.
"In 2020, we took a commonsense approach to ensure that student-athletes could control their name, image, and likeness and be paid fairly for it. Now that the NCAA has taken necessary steps to ensure fairness for student-athletes, we can focus on making sure that those athletes are supported and protected under the law," DeSantis said as he signed the law known as HB 7-B: Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights.
In addition to loosening restrictions on facilitating NIL deals, the new law requires student-athletes to complete two financial literacy, life skills, and entrepreneurship workshops before they graduate.
It also requires that agents for players be licensed and that they protect players from "unauthorized appropriation and commercial exploitation of her or his right to publicity."
Finally, the new law ensures that coaches and schools will not be not liable for any damages to a player's ability to earn NIL money.
The new law, however, still requires teams and coaches to follow NCAA rules that ban recruiting inducements or pay-to-play agreements.
Prior to the new law, it had been illegal for athletic staff at Florida's colleges and universities to help athletes with their NIL deals. For instance, the previous law prohibited a coach or other athletic staff from even informing athletes of potential NIL deals.
Proponents of the new law said it would simplify the NIL process and eliminate a competitive disadvantage that had hampered Florida's colleges and universities in recruiting and compensating athletes.
"This bill will allow Florida to remain competitive with every other state that our collegiate athletes compete against while ensuring that we prepare them for their future, possible opportunities, and, most importantly, the tools to make them successful in promoting their individual brand — their name, image, and likeness," said Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca, who sponsored the legislation.
As a sign of the importance of the new legislation, both Florida State football coach Mike Norvell and University of Florida football coach Billy Napier, as well as players from both schools, were on hand as DeSantis signed the new law.
"This is an important and necessary step in the NIL process to bring us more in line with what is happening around the country," said Michael Alford, Florida State's vice president and director of athletics. "We will always make what is best for the student-athlete our top priority."
"We are thankful for the governor and the legislature for making this NIL bill a reality," said University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. "We continue to be appreciative of all opportunities that our athletes have to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. NIL is a key ingredient to the Gators' current and future success."
Since the NCAA gave athletes the right to market themselves in 2021, a flurry of state NIL laws and deals have been made.
While Florida has been active with NIL legislation, some states have no NIL legislation, and others have adopted different policies with an eye on the NCAA's interim guidelines. Meanwhile, many wait to see if Congress will eventually pass legislation that will create uniform NIL regulations nationwide.