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Governor of Florida Signs Name, Image, and Likeness Bill into Law

On June 12, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida Senate Bill 646 into law permitting student-athletes enrolled in an institution of higher education in Florida to be paid for the use of their names, images, and likenesses, to hire representatives to represent student-athletes’ interests, and declaring that a student-athlete may not be compelled to forfeit his/her rights in order to participate in intercollegiate athletics. Florida becomes the third state to enact legislation that permits student-athletes to accept compensation for their names, images, and likenesses (following California and Colorado). The law takes effect on July 1, 2021.

In most respects, the Florida act is similar to predecessor acts enacted in California and Colorado. In pertinent part, the act provides as follows:

  • Participation in intercollegiate athletics should not infringe upon an athlete’s ability to earn compensation for his/her name, image, or likeness. The athlete must have an equal opportunity to control and profit from the commercial use of his/her name, image, or likeness and be protected from unauthorized appropriation and commercial exploitation of his/her right of publicity.

  • Compensation earned by athletes must be commensurate with the market value of the authorized use of athlete’s name, image, or likeness.

  • An athlete may not receive compensation for athletic performance or attendance at a particular institution and may only be provided compensation by a third-party unaffiliated with the athlete’s institution.

  • An institution may not adopt or maintain a contract, rule, regulation, standard, or other requirement that prevents or unduly restricts an athlete from earning compensation for the use of his/her name, image, or likeness.

  • An institution or entity may not compensate or cause compensation to be directed to a current or prospective athlete for his/her name, image, or likeness.

  • An athlete may not enter into a contract for compensation for use of his/her name, image, or likeness that conflicts with the terms of his/her team contract. However, the institution must disclose the terms of the conflicting contract to the athlete.

The Florida act, however, makes a few additions that were not included in the California or Colorado legislation. In pertinent part, the act provides as follows:

  • An attorney representing an athlete for purposes of securing compensation for the use of his/her name, image, or likeness must be a member in good standing of the Florida Bar (this was likely added by the lawyers who helped the politicians draft the act to unnecessarily favor them).

  • The duration of a contract for representation or compensation for use of an athlete’s name, image, or likeness may not extend beyond his/her intercollegiate athletic participation.

  • The athlete’s institution shall conduct a financial literacy and life skills workshop for a minimum of five (5) hours at the beginning of the athlete’s first and third academic years, which consists of training for financial aid, debt management, and budgets.

The law is not without awkwardness and confusing provisions, but the inclusion of financial training is a bonus. As with anything, the athletes must put in their efforts and focus to become more financially literate.

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