The NCAA now has a little more pressure to change its rules for college athletes ahead of the 2021-22 seasons.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he would be signing the state’s law allowing college athletes in Florida to receive endorsement and sponsorship money. That law will go into effect on July 1, 2021.
In his remarks announcing his signature on the bill that was previously approved by Florida’s legislature in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, DeSantis promoted Florida’s college programs and highlighted how Florida schools could now be an even more attractive option for in-state students.
That added attractiveness is, of course, assuming that the NCAA doesn’t act before Florida’s law goes into effect. And given the NCAA’s push in recent months, that’s a very bold assumption.
Florida’s 2021 target date for the law is not new and was designed to both be ahead of the 2023 effective date of California’s name, image and likeness law and put pressure on the NCAA. And so far, the NCAA is responding to that pressure.
The NCAA’s board of governors said it would endorse sweeping changes to its current rules that prohibit athletes from making money off their own names and images and wanted those changes adopted in January 2021 for the 2021-22 school year. In its massive position shift, the working group tasked with examining the NCAA’s archaic laws said that social media was a driving factor in the change. If a regular student could make money as a social media influencer, why couldn’t an athlete?
But the NCAA has admitted that it needs some help in making those changes. An April call discussing the pending changes was simply an outline of what’s to come and was light on details. Though it was clear from the NCAA’s recommendations that it’s looking for federal help in governing college athletics.
A federal law could supersede state laws regarding name, image and likeness. The NCAA doesn’t want to navigate the subtleties in NIL laws from state to state and would prefer one overarching law that it can build its new set of rules upon. That’s why the Power Five conference commissioners sent a letter to Congress this spring regarding the changes they wanted to see in any federal legislation.
We’ll see if Congress takes that letter into consideration if and when it takes up the topic of college athlete compensation. Right now, with a pandemic and protests pushing to end systemic racism at the forefront of the national discussion, Congress has some massive legislative things on its plate.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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