Student Athletes’ Rights to Compensation
Getting paid to play sports while earning a college degree? It’s time. In Florida, this becomes a reality on July 1, 2021. California and Colorado passed similar laws, but Florida’s will be the first to take effect.
Florida’s “Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights” law allows certain intercollegiate athletes to earn compensation for use of their name, image, or likeness (NIL). The Sunshine State will also allow student athletes securing NIL deals to be represented by attorneys and agents.
Florida will allow student athletes to receive compensation while still retaining their amateur status, and the compensation must be proportionate to the market value of the athlete’s name, image, or likeness. One caveat, compensation may not be in exchange for the athlete’s performance or attendance at a college, and compensation can’t impact the athlete’s grant-in-aid or athletic eligibility.
Important to note, compensation to an athlete may only be provided by an unaffiliated third party of the athlete’s college. Meaning the college, its athletic program, officers, directors, or employees may not compensate or cause compensation to be directed to a current or prospective college athlete. With athletes in mind, the law prohibits the college from preventing or restricting a college athlete from obtaining professional representation by an attorney or agent. Understandably, the athlete may not enter into a contract for compensation that conflicts with the college athlete’s team contract.
In order to provide student athletes with the appropriate skills and information needed to manage their compensation, the law requires colleges to hold financial literacy and life skills workshop for a minimum of five hours at the beginning of the athlete’s first and third academic years. The workshops include information concerning financial aid, debt management, time management skills, and recommended budget based on the cost of attendance.
Bitman O’Brien & Morat has a team led by Ronnie Bitman that handles sports and entertainment law. To learn more about our expertise and how we can assist you in these areas, please contact us at 407.815.3110 or visit bitman-law.com.