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DeSantis signs bill to update name, image and likeness legislation

Bill was passed Feb. 16

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks as he announces a proposal for Digital Bill of Rights, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks as he announces a proposal for Digital Bill of Rights, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis eased coaching involvement restrictions on name, image and likeness legislation Feb. 16 with a bill that passed through the state legislature unanimously.

NIL rules from the NCAA allow college athletes to receive financial compensation through marketing and endorsements. Athletes can get paid without being considered professional athletes.

The new law fosters involvement from coaches in student-athlete NIL negotiations and works to provide more education for college athletes. Schools will still not be able to pay players directly, but teams and coaches can now facilitate player deals. 

Six UF athletes traveled to Tallahassee for the signing. Florida football head coach Billy Napier, UF cornerback Jason Marshall Jr., Florida State football head coach Mike Norvell, FSU quarterback Jordan Travis and FSU defensive end Jared Verse were also in attendance, along with other Gators and Seminoles.

“We are also thankful for the invitation to travel to Tallahassee today to attend the signing of the bill,” Napier said. “It was an educational experience for our six student-athletes who proudly represented their peers and university.”

DeSantis previously signed a bill in 2020 that allowed college student-athletes to profit from their NIL through a third-party vendor. 

Florida was one of the first states to allow NIL deals, but the legislation was layered with protections for both schools and players from the NCAA rules. 

“In 2020, we took a commonsense approach to ensure that student-athletes could control their name, image and likeness and be paid daily for it,” DeSantis said at the signing, according to ESPN.

The bill no longer prohibits players from signing with agents as long as they are licensed to be involved in NIL contact creation.

“Now that the NCAA has taken necessary steps to ensure fairness for student-athletes, we can focus on making sure that those athletes are supported and protected under the law," DeSantis said.

A goal of the bill is for agents to use their power and protect athletes from being taken advantage of in NIL deals through unauthorized use or publicity rights. However, coaches cannot be blamed for any choices that may hinder a player’s ability to earn NIL money. 

“The NIL bill I signed today will further benefit student-athletes while ensuring they’re protected from commercial exploitation,” DeSantis tweeted Feb. 16. 

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The new bill comes one month after former quarterback signee Jaden Rashada parted ways with the Gators.

After flipping his commitment from Miami to UF, Florida’s Gator Collective reportedly offered Rashada a $13 million NIL deal to sign with Florida. Rashada later requested a release from his letter of intent, reportedly because the NIL deal fell through. 

The Gator Collective is independent from UF, and Florida has no influence on who the collective chooses to endorse or sign. Collectives are typically funded through boosters and businesses and work to facilitate NIL athlete deals. 

Sen. Travis Hutson, a sponsor of the bill, felt the bill leveled Florida with other states. 

“This bill just says we’re going to follow the NCAA, but more importantly be on an even playing field with the rest of the nation as it relates to what other states are doing,” Hutson said during a special-session committee meeting. 

Lawmakers feel the bill can open the door for new opportunities and potentially improve success in Florida. 

“For them not to be able to have any conversations about what opportunities are out there was limiting our athletes,” Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca, another sponsor of the bill, said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel when he filed for the bill.

The bill was introduced Feb. 6 and landed on DeSantis’ desk quickly with a complete agreement in committee meetings and the House and Senate. 

UF athletic director Scott Stricklin expressed his gratitude for the updated NIL legislation.

“We continue to be appreciative of all opportunities that our athletes have to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. NIL is a key ingredient to the Gators’ current and future success,” Stricklin said at the signing. 

Student-athletes will also be required to take life-skills coursework such as financial literacy and entrepreneurship workshops before graduation.  

Contact Krisha Sanghavi at ksanghavi@alligator.org. Follow her on twitter @krishasang.

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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.


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