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Trailblazing Legislation Allows College Athlete Compensation in Florida

July 1, 2021

FDOE Press Office

Trailblazing Legislation Allows College Athlete Compensation in Florida

Tallahassee, Fla., July 1, 2021 – Following Governor DeSantis signature on HB 845 that allows college athletes to be compensated for their name, image or likeness (NIL), today Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran was joined by Rep. Chip LaMarca and Florida State University quarterback McKenzie Milton, along with fellow teammates, as he signed a contract with Miller’s Ale House to be paid for the use of his NIL. Florida is one of the first states in the nation to allow student athletes to earn compensation for their NIL.

Many college athletes leave school in debt, despite giving their time and risking injury to play sports they love at their schools. Ninety-nine percent of these athletes will never earn a meaningful professional income in their sport. For the short time these student athletes are participating in college sports, they will now have the opportunity to earn income for the commitment they make on the playing field.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership on this long overdue commonsense policy, more than 11,000 college athletes throughout Florida will finally be allowed to gain financially for the use of their name, image or likeness,” said Commissioner Corcoran. “These athletes deserve the recognition that comes with their athletic success and upholds Florida’s commitment to be a driving force for fairness in college athletics. I also want to thank Rep. Chip LaMarca and our legislative leaders for their support of this bill.”

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with our state leaders to make today possible for all collegiate athletes across Florida,” said McKenzie Milton. ”I look forward to see what all of my peers can now accomplish, and what we at Dreamfield can do to support them.” 

Commissioner Corcoran was joined by Luis Pardillo, CEO of Dreamfield, a Florida-based start-up that will create jobs and endless opportunities for college athletes in Florida and across the nation. The NCAA, which oversees college athletics, yesterday approved suspending restrictions on payments to athletes for things such as sponsorship deals, online endorsements, personal appearances and to allow entering into agreements with agents without jeopardizing their college eligibility. 

“Thank you to our leaders in Florida like Representative Chip LaMarca, Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Governor Ron DeSantis for creating a pro-business environment for startups like Dreamfield to be possible, and also for now clearing the way for our college athletes to join us in the free market,” said Luis Pardillo, CEO of Dreamfield.

“When we drafted this legislation, it was all about fairness for collegiate athletes, from men’s football to women’s softball, and every single athlete in between,” said Representative Chip LaMarca. “And every time I pictured an athlete having this opportunity in the great State of Florida, I pictured someone with the humility and honesty of McKenzie Milton. Having had the opportunity to spend some time with this young warrior, I realized that this is the type of individual that would be the face of this change. We leveled the playing field in Florida and athletes like McKenzie chose us over the other 49 states to enter the free market.”

Senate Bill 646 was passed during the 2020 Legislative Session to allow for athlete compensation and House Bill 845, passed in the 2021 Legislative Session, affirmed the effective date as July 1, 2021.

On June 10, 2021, the State Board of Education approved Rule 6A-14.0582 that outlines the requirements and procedures to allow intercollegiate student athletes within the Florida College System to earn compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness (NIL). The rule also requires all student athletes to complete financial literacy and life skills workshops. The Florida Board of Governors, who oversee the State University System, will enact similar regulations.

SB 845 also prohibits state funds from being used to join or maintain membership in an association whose decisions or proposed decisions are a result of, or in response to, actions proposed or adopted by the Legislature, if such decisions or proposed decisions will result in a negative fiscal impact to the state. The Board of Governors must notify any association if the association’s actions or proposed actions may require public postsecondary institutions to withdraw from such association.

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