The National Collegiate Athletic Association got expected but unwanted news out of Florida. The Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allows college athletes to sell their faces to marketing partners beginning with the 2021-2022 college season. That could give big time college programs in football and basketball in Florida a leg up in recruiting because the blue-chip athletes know there is money to be made in Florida immediately. California’s law allowing college and university athletes to sell their faces to marketing and advertising partners does not kick in until 2023. There is very little that the NCAA can do to stop California or Florida from implementing the law unless Congress decides to overturn the legislation. The NCAA has been lobbying Congress to do something because the group and its subsidiaries which would include the so-called power five conferences and other alliances are concerned about competitive balance in the industry and how only a few premium players will get paid which could create imbalances in sports programs. Right now, Florida has a recruiting advantage because the top players coming out of high school could get a pay day. The NCAA’s Faustian deal of giving an athlete an almost full scholarship with many restrictions including a limit on how much money an athlete could make from a part time job is falling apart. Other states are expected to follow California and Florida and allow student-athletes the opportunity to sell their likenesses.
The NCAA would like to have Congress write a national bill that would regulate what the student-athletes could make from marketing partnerships. Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott has concluded that 95% of the advertising money will go to male student-athletes in a free market. The NCAA plans to come up with a likeness plan by January. The days of student-athletes being amateurs they’re coming to an end.