• Patrick Martin

Name, Image & Likeness Bill in an FSU Context

By Guest Contributor Amber Hedquist

FSU Senior | English Major, Communication Minor | DeVoe Moore Center Editorial/Public Affairs Manager

The pandemic has affected more than our national health. Consequences include the cancellation of events, concerts, and entire sports seasons. Public attention on athletics naturally started to wane—until Governor Desantis signed SB646.

The landmark decision is more commonly known as the ‘name, image, and likeness’ bill, or NIL. The bill authorizes intercollegiate athletes to earn compensation for their NIL. Prior to the legislation, Division I athletes were strictly prohibited from accepting any compensation outside of official scholarships. The provisions will take effect on July 1st of next year with two stipulations: first, compensation cannot interfere with a team contract and second, all contracts must be disclosed to the postsecondary institution. Florida is one of only three states to pass NIL legislation, but unlike its counterparts—Colorado and California—Florida’s bill will take effect two years earlier.

A survey of 24 FAMU and FSU student athletes was conducted during the 2020 legislative session to gauge favorability. The majority of athletes supported the bill, while the remaining 17% of respondents indicated a lack of clarity, indecision, or opposition. Many respondents indicated favorability due to their personal experiences with forced denial of compensation offers. An anonymous athlete stated: “being marketed by the university in order for the university to make money off of our hard work and success is a slap in the face.”

Understanding the vantage point of college athletes requires analyzing the reality of scholarship distribution.

Scholarship amounts depend if the sport is a headcount or equivalency sport. Headcount sports always offer full rides because they are revenue sports. For all schools in the NCAA, these sports are only men’s basketball and football and women’s basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics. The remaining sports are equivalency sports wherein the coach decides how to divide scholarship money. FSU has 18 official sports teams: five are headcount sports and 13 are equivalency.

For each sport, regardless of designation,, the NCAA establishes scholarship limits. As seen in the chart below, the number of athletes on each roster exceeds scholarships available. Not receiving a scholarship for a headcount sport means the athlete is a walk-on: no scholarship. Equivalency sport coaches operate differently, with some deciding to distribute scholarships to only upperclassmen and others distributing in equal, partial quantities to all athletes.

*Indicates Headcount Sports.

**Some athletes participate in both the Track and Cross Country season, resulting in the athlete being counted twice.

Data derived from scholarshipstats.com

The statistics convey a general misunderstanding about the amount of student athletes on full rides. In fact, only 1% of college athletes receive full rides and, as reported in 2018, only “59% of all (Division I) student-athletes receive some level of athletics aid.”

The NLI bill will consequently offer student-athletes the avenue to accept endorsements and other compensatory endeavors. Former FSU soccer phenom, Deyna Castellanos, would have been a substantial benefactor from the legislation: she boasted an Instagram following of over a million American and international fans. The NLI bill will allow future athletes like Dayna to profit off of their image and platform.

Now the pressure is on the NCAA to make sweeping reform. Until then, Florida will be the NLI trailblazer.

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