Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill allowing student athletes compensation for name, image, likeness

Photo credit: Jared Lennon

At the University of Miami’s Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s NIL bill on June 12, allowing student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. The bill will officially go into effect on July 1, 2021.

“I think Florida is leading the way on this,” said DeSantis as he stood alongside former UM football and NFL player Jonathan Vilma, current UM safety Amari Carter, President Julio Frenk, Athletic Director Blake James and head coach Manny Diaz. “If you’re a blue-chip, high school recruit out there trying to figure out where to go, I think any of our Florida schools is a great landing spot.”

The bill grants players the opportunity to “earn compensation for the use of her or his name, image, or likeness. Such compensation must be commensurate with the market value of the authorized use of the athlete’s name, image, or likeness.”

Florida is the first state where this bill will take effect next year, whereas California’s “Fair to Pay to Play Act,” signed in September 2019, will take effect in 2023.

DeSantis says he believes this bill will be an incentive for more players to stay in-state, preventing the high-caliber players from leaving Florida to play for other football programs.

“For all of our great high school players, stay in-state,” DeSantis said. “I see people going to Alabama and Clemson and I know they’ve got good programs, but there’s nothing better than winning a national championship in your home state, so maybe this will be an added incentive.”

The bill also protects the players from losing their grant-in-aid or athletic eligibility as a result of receiving compensation from endorsements. However, it is still unclear how this law will take effect considering the NCAA still forbids athlete compensation.

Vilma called this action a historic moment as players now are able to profit off their sport while also receiving a quality education.

In a statement to The Miami Hurricane, James affirmed Miami Athletic’s support of the bill.

“Miami Athletics supports student-athletes having the ability to capitalize on their name, image and likeness,” James said. “Today’s signing of the Florida bill into law is another step in that direction. While much more work must be done at the national level to provide clarity and guidelines, we look forward to working with all of those involved in the process.”