Republican Florida governor endorses bill allowing college athletes to get paid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles as he arrives at a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. DeSantis said the state is expanding its efforts to eradicate invasive pythons in the Everglades and is working with the federal government to get snake hunters to remote areas of Big Cypress National Preserve. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is following in California Gov. Gavin Newsom's footsteps. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The movement to let college athletes make money got a boost on Thursday when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he supported a bill in the state legislature that would allow college athletes to make money off their name and image rights.

DeSantis’ endorsement means the push to override the NCAA’s current rules regarding amateurism is a bipartisan effort among governors of some of the most populous states in the country. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), signed a bill into law at the end of September that would allow college players to take endorsement and sponsorship money.

DeSantis and Newsom are on opposite ends of the political spectrum but clearly have found some common ground against the NCAA’s current rules. The NCAA currently prohibits college athletes from making money off their status as college athletes.

California’s bill is set to go into effect in 2023. Florida’s would be a lot sooner than that if it makes it through the House and Senate and gets to DeSantis’ desk for him to sign. The proposed effective date on Florida’s bill is July 1.

It’s still unclear just how either of the state’s laws would mesh with existing NCAA rules. Since the NCAA is not a government body it would still be able to have its own rules independent of state laws. But the moves by California and Florida should be incentive for the NCAA to move as fast as possible to reform its current image rights rules.

The NCAA doesn’t want to deal with states having different name and image rights rules. It’s a nightmare for the NCAA if schools in California and Florida are in states with laws allowing athletes to make endorsement money, and schools in Kansas and Texas are in states with no laws contradicting the NCAA’s current rules.

The NCAA currently has a working group examining the name and image rights issue and it’s set to make a report to the NCAA’s Board of Governors on Monday and Tuesday. We’ll find out very soon if Florida’s possible addition to the athlete-rights bandwagon is forcing the NCAA to act swiftly and comprehensively.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports

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