Apr 30, 2021 - Sports

Florida's name, image, likeness bill for college athletes hits unexpected snag

 Data: The Drake Group, via SI; Cartogram: Axios Visuals
Data: The Drake Group, via SI; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

Florida was set to be among the first states to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. But now they've run into a potential one-year delay.

Driving the news: Florida's NIL bill was set to take effect on July 1, 2021, but Sen. Travis Hutson (R) added a last-minute amendment into an unrelated bill on Wednesday that would push NIL back to July 1, 2022.

What they're saying: "No one was prepared for it," tweeted law professor Darren Heitner, who helped write the original bill.

  • "Legislators were searching for language in the Senate bill when it was rushed to a vote. 'Railroaded' is a word I keep hearing."
  • "There is no reason to wait to do the right thing," tweeted FSU football coach Mike Norvell. "The state of Florida was a leader on NIL."

Between the lines: Hutson told SI (subscription) the reason behind his amendment was to first secure a written pledge from the NCAA that no students would be penalized for legally profiting off NIL.

Yes, but: "I think there's absolutely no substance behind that statement made by Hutson," Heitner tells me.

  • "I asked so many people how could this possibly happen, why was it snuck in like that ... and I couldn't get a straight answer out of anyone."

The backdrop: Florida's NIL bill wasn't the first to pass (California's was), but it was the first with a 2021 start date, which kickstarted a bit of a trend.

  • Four other states have since passed bills that will take effect this July (Alabama, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arizona).
  • Six states have passed bills that will kick in as soon as Jan. 1, 2022 (Arkansas, Michigan, California, Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey).
  • Three states are awaiting their governor's signature (Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina), and 17 have introduced a bill this year.

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