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Florida's college athlete compensation bill will go into effect in 2021

The NIL law will keep its original effective date of July 2021 after a last-minute legislative move threatened to delay it a year.
Credit: AP
Florida Rep. Chip LaMarca talks on his phone during a break in a legislative session, Thursday, April 29, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — College athletes in Florida are back on track to start cashing in on their athletic prowess this July, after a last-minute legislative move threatened to delay the process a year.

An amendment that would have pushed the Florida NIL law's effective date back to July 1, 2022 has been removed from a school charter bill, reinstating July 1, 2021 as the start date. 

The curveball came in a tiny last-minute amendment inserted into an education bill in the waning days of Florida’s legislative session. 

The bill, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis last June, will allow college athletes in the state to receive profit off the use of their name, image and likeness.

"We're not talking about, you get a scholarship to Florida State and Miami and the universities are gonna pay you to play. That's not what we're talking about," DeSantis said when announcing the bill last year. "But if you have a situation where you have some of the great athletes, particularly in sports like football and basketball, whose name, image, and likeness is being used to make millions and millions of dollars, and they don't have the opportunity to get any of that, there's something fundamentally unfair for that."

Prior to its removal from the bill, the amendment went undetected by some lawmakers — including the author of the Florida NIL bill, Chip LaMarca. In a statement released to Sports Illustrated, LaMarca said he "could not be more disappointed" with the changes.

"In one move, the Florida Legislature made our state both anti-economic freedom and anti-student athlete," LaMarca said.

The change was also met with pushback from Florida athletes and coaches, who pleaded with Florida lawmakers to keep the original effective date of the bill. 

Those athletes are now celebrating the reinstatement of the original effective date, meaning their chance to start earning money for use of their name, image and likeness is just a few months away.

University of Miami quarterback D'Eriq King thanked lawmakers for "trying to do what’s best for the athletes" in Florida.

Miami Hurricanes Athletic Director Blake James said "Florida positioned to once again take the lead on NIL legislation."

Florida State University quarterback McKenzie Milton thanked Rep. Chip LaMarca for his work in getting the bill passed.

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