NCAA plans to allow athletes to profit…with restrictions

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
April 20, 2020

FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, an athlete stands near a NCAA logo during a softball game in Beaumont, Texas. The NCAA is poised to take a significant step toward allowing college athletes to earn money without violating amateurism rules. The Board of Governors will be briefed Tuesday, Oct. 29 by administrators who have been examining whether it would be feasible to allow college athletes to profit of their names, images and likenesses. A California law set to take effect in 2023 would make it illegal for NCAA schools in the state to prevent athletes from signing personal endorsement deals. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Legislation awaiting the governor’s signature would allow student athletes to be paid for their image, but a final report by the NCAA on the topic doesn’t go as far as state lawmakers would like.

The bill passed in Florida earlier this year allows student athletes to enter into endorsement deals and profit off their name, image and likeness, so long as they aren’t directly paid by their schools.

“Dozens of sports, male and female athletes will be able to participate in the free market,” said House sponsor Chip LaMarca.

Representative LaMarca calls the 31-page final report put out by the NCAA an embarrassment.

“They basically said, here's the free market, we're just going to remove this part and this part and this part and you can play within the guidelines,” said LaMarca.

The report recommends prohibiting group licensing for things like video games and excluding shoe and apparel endorsements.

“Basically, you can do basically social media, some other endorsements and advertisements, but nothing of real consequence.”

FSU Sports Management Professor Dr. Jason Pappas tells us the NCAA tried to strike a balance between allowing athletes to profit, while reducing recruitment advantages.

“They wanted to make it as equitable as possible for all institutions,” said Pappas.

LaMarca said the restrictions proposed by the NCAA are especially discouraging, given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

“14%-20% are experiencing homelessness. 20%-40% are experiencing food insecurity. And they haven't even relaxed these rules in the middle of a pandemic,” said LaMarca.

If signed into law, Florida’s legislation will take effect next July, in time for the fall season.

The NCAA report also recommends action from congress to preempt laws passed by states on the issue.

That would make things uniform across the country, but also undermine the spirit of Florida lawmakers proposal.