Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2021, as Florida is the first state to pass a bill of its kind.
Gov. DeSantis spoke about how it’s time to create more opportunities for athletes to benefit from the billions generated in the college sports industry. The NCAA has responded to other states legislation about the laws surround college athletes.
In April, the NCAA supported rule changes that would allow student-athletes to take advantage of these rights. The NCAA would write rules by October 31, and vote on them no later than January 31, 2021.
NIL rights will happen in 2021-2022, but states could pass and use their NIL laws if they choose too.
Impact on the NCAA
Passing this bill was the first of its kind last week, the NCAA finds itself in unusual circumstances. The NCAA has always been about the student first in student-athlete. However, over the years, college sports had completely changed from when the NCAA originated in 1906.
In 2016, the NCAA generated $995.9 million in revenue, and not a single dollar went to the athletes that help create that. College football and basketball alone have turned into billion-dollar industries thanks to the College Football Playoff and the March Madness Tournament.
Florida is the first state to allow college athletes to profit off their likeness finally. However, this isn’t the first time states or student-athletes have tried to get paid.
In 2019, California passed the “Fair Pay to Play” bill allowing college athletes to profit off their likeness. However, the law doesn’t go into effect until 2030, so Florida will be the first state to allow student-athletes to get paid.
In 2015, the University of Northwestern’s football team tried to unionize. Northwestern football’s claim to the NLRB was that that they were employees of the University and that they should be allowed to collectively bargain. The NLRB voted unanimously against NU football, but still a milestone day for student-athletes.
Right now, the NCAA is trying to convince the federal government to pass a law nationally that would decide whether or not students should get paid for their likeness. This way, individual states can’t pass these laws, and the NCAA still controls how they will pay student-athletes. Unless the federal government agrees that they should.
Regardless, the bill is long overdue, and the NCAA will be scrambling to figure out a way to regulate paying student-athletes.
Betting on College Sports
With sports betting growing in the US, there has always been some controversy surrounding betting on college sports. A lot of that controversy has been stirred up by the universities themselves.
The biggest fear universities have about legal sports betting is a points shaving scandal. Multiple athletic directors and presidents have been on record to say they fear sports betting could impact the integrity of college sports. In 2001, John McCain tried to bring a bill into Congress that would ban betting on college sports. However, that bill never made it to the floor.
Another thing, the amount of data and knowledge that goes into sports betting, could change the college landscape. Universities argue that there would need to be transparency in the data that is being used for college sports betting.
Also, there is a possibility that schools and conferences could sign joint partnerships with professional teams and sportsbooks. Potential sportsbooks partnerships would change the landscape of collegiate sports and how they and universities do business.
If sponsors are paying for a student-athletes likeness, then a lot of the concerns go away. There is no chance at a point-shaving scandal because the athlete is making money off sponsors.
Recruits in college basketball are now looking to play overseas instead of college. Players can declare for the NBA draft after one season of basketball after high school. Now, instead of going to college for a year, some high school players want to play overseas to get paid. If players start making money off their likeness, then they might consider college for the year. Then, this increases competition in the NCAA.
There will no be any more excuses the NCAA and universities could make when it comes to legalized sports betting. The collegiate sports landscape is shifting, and the NCAA needs to update its rules to the times we live in, or else they’ll be left behind. Of course, the NCAA still wants to profit off student-athletes. However, they might not be able to control the profits the student-athletes make if they don’t adjust.