“Safeguards” Eyed For College Athlete Proposals

“Safeguards” Eyed For College Athlete Proposals

The News Service of Florida

After scoring a victory Tuesday when the NCAA governing board moved toward letting college athletes make endorsement money, Florida lawmakers are looking to add “safeguards” to legislative proposals filed for the 2020 session.

Before the NCAA’s announcement, four Florida lawmakers had filed bills aimed at allowing college athletes to cash in on their names, images and likenesses. One of the bill sponsors, Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, said he will look to add a financial-literacy education requirement, along with prohibitions on endorsements for recruiting and transfer advantages.

“I am cautiously optimistic about this news from the NCAA,” LaMarca said in a prepared statement. “We will continue working to make sure they keep the promises they have made to our student athletes.”

The NCAA board directed the three collegiate sports divisions to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies to address the endorsement issue no later than January 2021. The directive maintains that pay for on-field play would remain impermissible, that athletes would not become university employees and that arranged payments couldn’t be used for recruiting.

The vote was welcomed in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has given support to the legislative proposals: HB 287 and SB 646 by LaMarca and Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, and HB 251 and SB 582 by House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, and Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando.

As no formal changes were enacted by the NCAA, the legislative efforts are continuing to move forward. The bills are mostly similar in seeking to allow college athletes to be compensated through endorsement deals. The McGhee-Bracy effort also proposes a task force to review state and federal laws and regulations by the NCAA and other organizations about compensation for student-athletes. The 2020 legislative session starts Jan. 14.

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