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Byron Donalds joins effort to allow college athlete compensation

Legislation would also allow college athletes to hire agents, lawyers.

State Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, has signed on as a prime co-sponsor to Rep. Chip LaMarca‘s bill that would allow college athletes to be paid via endorsement deals.

LaMarca filed the legislation (HB 287) in early October. House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee has also filed a bill of his own (HB 251).

Those efforts gained more strength following an announcement by Gov. Ron DeSantis that he supports legislation allowing athletes to make money off their likeness.

Now, Donalds is joining Lamarca’s push, which Donalds calls “a huge step in the right direction for Florida and its student athletes.”

Donalds added in a statement, “This issue transcends all sports, all genders, and all races. The athletes that have the most to gain from this are the ones where their athletic potential is maximized while in college, such as women’s softball where there is no professional outlet. I am excited and honored to join my friend Chip LaMarca in this endeavor to bring our student athletes into the free market.”

LaMarca added comments of his own thanking Donalds for joining the team.

“I could not ask for a better partner on this issue. Byron is a leader in education policy and understands the value of the free market. He is a friend and someone of high moral integrity that always wants what is best for our students and all Floridians. I look forward to having Rep. Donalds by my side in the fight for our student athletes.”

The effort in Florida follows in the footsteps of California. Lawmakers there recently approved a similar bill, which was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In addition to allowing athletes to make money off of their likeness, LaMarca’s bill would also current college athletes to hire agents.

Those moves fly in the face of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules, which regulate those athletes’ conduct. The NCAA has explored possible means of compensating students for use of their likeness. But those efforts haven’t gone anywhere as of yet.

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Current rules block athletes from making money off of their likeness, such as charging fans for autographs. In 2017, a kicker from the University of Central Florida was also declared ineligible by making money off his YouTube channel.

The NCAA said the California measure may disqualify that state’s schools from participating in college sports altogether.

But with Florida and New York pushing similar bills, it may only be a matter of time before the NCAA is forced to reevaluate its stance.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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