New Fla. law will help college athletes make bank off their personal ‘brand’ as they move into business world

The new NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) law in Florida, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, will purportedly “open the door” for college athletes to build on their individual brand and use it as they transition out of sports into the business world when they graduate.

(Video Credit: CBS Miami)

The Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights law seeks to help schools facilitate endorsement deals for their athletes.

“The world today is very much social and digital, and people are going to have that opportunity to build that brand online and also in merchandise and things like that,” state Rep. Chip LaMarca (R) asserted, according to Fox News. “So this is an opportunity for them to start a business based on who they are.”

There’s a lot of great opportunities that we’ve seen for female athletes, nontraditional sport male or female athletes,” he added. “And this just kind of opens the door for people to be creative.”

NCAA regulations dictate that athletes can’t be wooed to play for a university based on name, image, and likeness deals they might receive. However, brand endorsement deals, such as being a spokesperson for a car dealership or a restaurant, are permitted after students sign contracts to play at the school.

“The coach or staff can now help them get endorsements from local restaurants, car dealerships, whoever is willing to sponsor that athlete,” LaMarca pointed out.

“Two years ago, FL became one of the first states in the nation to permit student-athletes to be compensated for use of their names, image & likeness,” DeSantis tweeted after he signed the bill into law.

The “bill I signed today will further benefit student-athletes while ensuring they’re protected from commercial exploitation,” he went on to state.

DeSantis was joined by University of Florida football coach Billy Napier, Florida State University football coach Mike Norvell, and several student-athletes from both schools as he signed HB 7-B in Tallahassee.

DeSantis and Florida’s lawmakers threw their support behind NIL legislation as early as 2019. Florida was one of the first states to enact NIL laws before the NCAA issued its loose guidelines, which essentially allowed institutions to follow the rules of each state.

Under the new law, colleges are mandated to conduct a workshop every semester covering entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and other life skills.

Coaches and schools are not liable for any damages to a student athlete’s ability to earn NIL money as a result of their decisions.

“It’s important for them to learn not just the value of money, how to save, how to make sure that you cover your tax bill and things like that, but also how to monetize who you are,” LaMarca explained. “The biggest part of what I’m proud of this bill is the entrepreneurship piece.”

Rep. Chip LaMarca sponsored the bill and told in January that there was bipartisan support for it. The Florida House passed the bill on a 113-0 vote.

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