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Gov. DeSantis endorses proposal to pay college athletes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would support legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid for their name and likeness.
Credit: AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis smiles as he arrives at a news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he would support legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid for their name and likeness.

“I think California was on the right track that there needs to be reform for athletes being able to use at the collegiate level their name, image and likeness,” DeSantis said in a news conference in Tallahassee.

Florida has over 11,000 student athletes, said. State Rep. Chip LaMarca, R- Lighthouse Point, and they deserve their access to the free market.

There are two bills currently filed in the upcoming session that could be heard in committee, DeSantis said. One is from House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee which, if signed into law, would allow student athletes participating in collegiate athletics receive compensation.

“Let’s be absolutely clear to the 470,000 student athletes across this nation: help is on its way,” McGhee said.

In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that would allow college athletes to more easily make money off their own name, image and likeness, beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The NCAA has strongly opposed the movement to pay college athletes on a state level. 

“As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process,” the NCAA said after the California law was passed.  “As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.”

Florida’s 2020 legislative session starts Jan. 14.

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