Rick Scott backs NIL reforms to protect college football
SEC scheduling decisions could squeeze college football's 'middle class.' Image via The Associated Press.

SEC Football — AP image
'I think we've got to figure out how to do this better.'

Florida’s former Governor and current junior Senator is looking for a federal fix to compensation issues for student athletes, saying the system that has evolved in recent years is upsetting competitive balance and undermining amateurism.

“I think we really need (it). I think it’s completely changed whether it was positive or negative, it’s completely changed college sports. I think we need to be part of the solution,” U.S. Sen. Rick Scott said on the Hugh Hewitt show regarding name, image and likeness (NIL) rules that allow athletes to be compensated for endorsements.

“I think what we’re doing now is going to have bad repercussions to college football, how we think about college football. So I think we’ve got to figure out how to do this better.”

There is no shortage of legislation attempting to address the increasing professionalism of high-profile athletes. One interested law firm notes seven proposals: The College Athlete Economic Freedom Act; The College Athletes Compensation and Protection Act; The Fairness, Accountability, and Integrity in Representation of College Sports Act; The College Sports NIL Clearinghouse Act of 2023; The Protecting Athletes, Schools, and Sports Act; The Student-Athlete Level Playing Field; and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s NIL Legislation).

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed off on NIL legislation, also is coming around to believe the construct is upsetting traditional competition in amateur sports.

“I think this whole NIL may need some guardrails and the transferring has gotten out of hand. You know, transferring once? Fine, you shouldn’t have to sit out. But to just treat it like a free agency where you don’t know who’s going to come back each year, I think that’s diluted college sports,” he said in April.

“Football’s changed where you have, like, you get paid for name, image and likeness and stuff, which we supported in Florida. If people are going to make money off you, like, whatever. But now it’s like, they sit out the bowl games and they do all this other stuff and a lot of Florida State’s players didn’t even play. We’ve got to do something about that. I don’t know if that’s the right thing,” DeSantis said in Waukee, Iowa, during his failed presidential campaign.

Athletes are able to make serious money on the college level these days, led by hoopster Bronny James, who made nearly $6 million in the last accounting, suggesting that it’s not just football in play when it comes to corporate interest.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

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