Florida Changes Course Again, Passes Amendment to Make NIL Law Effective July 1

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Florida lawmakers reversed course for the second time in 48 hours on Friday afternoon, passing an amendment to flip Wednesday's decision to delay when its name, image and likeliness (NIL) legislation would be effective

Once governor Ron DeSantis signs the bill, Florida college athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness starting on July 1, 2021—the original date in the bill passed last year. Wednesday's amendment had sought to push that date back to July 1, 2022.

Wednesday's amendment was introduced in the Florida Senate by Sen. Travis Hutson, who told Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger that the one-year hold was done out of "an abundance of caution" to ensure college athletes in Florida didn't "potentially lose scholarships from the NCAA." 

On Thursday, Hutson sent a statement to SI saying that he spoke with NCAA president Mark Emmert and Florida State president John Thrasher. In those conversations, he received confirmation that athletes will not be punished for following their respective state's NIL laws. 

Dellenger reports the new proposal "does include language that would require Florida schools to leave the NCAA if the the organization tries to punish schools for Florida's laws, including NIL." Specifically, the amendment would "prevent Florida schools from using state funds to pay for NCAA membership if the NCAA attempts to punish the state by relocating championship events in light of its state laws, such as NIL or transgender legislation," according to Dellenger.

On Wednesday night, legislatures passed an amendment to an unrelated charter school bill that included language which changed the Florida NIL law’s effective date to July 1, 2022. The news sparked outrage among some of the state’s highest profile college athletes, including Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton and Miami's D’Eriq King. 

"Don’t back down now. Let us profit off OUR name image and likeness," King tweeted. "We deserve it!"

Coaches at Florida's three powerhouse schools—FSU's Mike Norvell, UF's Dan Mullen and Miami's Manny Diaz—also weighed in via social media. 

"There is no reason to wait to do the right thing," Norvell tweeted. "The state of Florida was a leader on NIL and, as other states quickly tried to follow our model, college athletes in Florida have been able to position themselves to be ready to benefit starting July 1, 2021."

Florida lawmakers called what happened over the last two days a “glitch.”

The state has consistently been at the forefront for NIL legislation, with Gov. DeSantis championing it over the last few years. Three states (Mississippi, New Mexico and Alabama) have already passed NIL laws that are effective this July, while Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina have passed bills that are currently waiting for their governor’s signature.

Meanwhile, there are still several federal NIL proposals up for consideration, and the NCAA is still awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court on the NCAA v. Alston case for its own NIL legislation. 

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