Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will officially allow players to be compensated for their names, image and likeness. This step in the right direction will be implemented beginning July 1st, 2021. Florida will become the first state to implement the new legislation and joins California and Colorado as the only three states to sign the bill into law.
Califonia and Colorado are set to implement the law in 2023.
The new bill will allow players to be compensated outside of their respective universities, including the use of their own image such as for endorsement deals.
"I just want to say Florida is leading on this and if you're a blue-chip high school recruit out there trying to figure out where to go I think any of our Florida schools is a great landing spot," Desantis said shortly after signing the bill at the University of Miami via Manny Navarro on Twitter.
"For all of our great high school players, stay in state. I see people going to Alabama and Clemson and I know they've got good programs, but there's nothing better than winning a national championship in your home state. So maybe this will be an added incentive."
Earlier this year, the NCAA conducted a meeting in which the board of governors supported a rule for student-athletes to allow compensation. The board, however, has yet to make a definitive ruling on the issue, however, according to their statement they've made concerted efforts and have directed all three divisions to consider appropriate rule changes.
"The board’s recommendations now will move to the rules-making structure in each of the NCAA’s three divisions for further consideration," the NCAA said in a press release in April. "The divisions are expected to adopt new name, image and likeness rules by January to take effect at the start of the 2021-22 academic year."
If passed unilaterally, the rules determined by the NCAA and the state of Florida could offer a dramatic shift in the way collegiate-athletes are compensated. Currently, no student-athlete may have endorsement deals of any kind, receive compensation for materials such as autographs or any memorabilia. The ruling by the NCAA would still not allow for players to use team merchandise as profits, however, anything pertaining to their own likeness individually will be allowed.
Last month, the power-five conferences got together and sent a three-page letter to congress on name, image and likeness for collegiate-athletes, stating the need to expedite the process and that they need "not wait for the NCAA process."
For the Gators - and all Florida public schools under the NCAA -, this could have major implications on recruiting as more high-school level athletes will prefer to have the option to make money off of their name and sign endorsement deals.
Upon seeing the news, Gators linebacker coach Christian Robinson posted a gif via Twitter in an attempt to persuade players to join Florida, given they'll be able to profit off of their name, image and likeness in the state first before all other states.
While there is plenty more discussion to be had before any college athlete can officially put pen to paper, today marks a historic day in collegiate-sport history.