CFO Patronis vows to ‘move heaven and earth’ to launch college sports

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The letter comes as the latest push from state leaders to ensure the continuation of college sports.

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis penned a letter to presidents of state universities Monday, urging them to participate in college sports this year without fear of liability.

“I have been following recent media coverage regarding the possibility that college sports may be postponed through 2020, and I want to offer my support in working to move heaven and earth to ensure that’s not the case,” Patronis wrote.

The letter comes as the latest and most formal push by state leaders including Gov. Ron DeSantis and his predecessor, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, to see that college sports remain on the table in the Sunshine State.

But while DeSantis and Scott have simply expressed a desire to see it happen, Patronis assured universities that he intends to protect them from what he’s described as frivolous lawsuits.

“If you’re concerned about the legal liability of letting student athletes compete, let’s talk,” he continued. “Next legislative session, I plan to pursue legislation to protect our businesses and non-profits from legal firms who see the coronavirus as a business opportunity.”

In May, Patronis extended a similar message to Florida business owners. Then, he announced his prospective legislation would discourage lawyers from predatory ‘sue and settle’ tactics and shield small businesses from COVID-19-related claims. The scope of the legislation, however, would still allow legitimate lawsuits based on “reckless disregard for human life’ to move forward,” he said.

Beyond any legal and economical implications, Patronis also expressed concern for the well-being of the student-athletes themselves, many of whom rely on scholarships to further their education.

“Additionally, let’s not forget about the mental toll that will fall on our athletes who derive incredible joy and meaning from playing sports with their teammates,” he wrote. “As I have witnessed with my own children, sports provide an outlet that helps provide structure and teaches important lessons on teamwork and leadership that’s hard to replicate in the classroom.”

There are twelve universities in Florida represented by more than 11,000 student athletes.

Click to access University-President-letter-to-Board-of-Governors.pdf


Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


  • Bob Swanson

    August 10, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    I like college sports, too. But in the scheme of things, it is really not that important.

    It would be far better if the kids went to class and were required to pass courses like any other student, if many of them got some class and dressed better, and if all of them spoke intelligibly.

  • Harold Finch

    August 11, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Well, I like Jimmy a lot, but is this really something he really needs to be involved in?

Comments are closed.


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