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Florida's College And Universities Athletes Have Already Started Earning Money Through New Law

Erich Martin

A new Florida law lets college and university athletes profit from the use of their name, image or likeness. On July 1, the day Florida’s new law went into effect, Florida State University quarterback McKenzie Milton held a press conference at Miller’s Ale House to sign a contract with the company Dreamfield.

Milton cofounded the company with University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King specifically to help student athletes navigate compliance requirements and book things like appearances and photo shoots. Milton said he thinks it’s important for athletes to get financial recognition for their work.

“You know this is bigger than any individual. It’s a day for all athletes to be able to capitalize on something they should have been able to a long time ago,” Milton said.

Rep. Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) said he agrees students athletes should be able to make money while "they're famous for who they are and what they're doing."

LaMarca helped usher the change through the legislative process. He said the new rule will even the playing field between student athletes and other college and university students.

“You’ve got students in finance, students in engineering. They can go build an app, they can go do something creative and sell a project or computer program, or houses for that matter. And these student athletes and these men behind me, they can’t do that. They’re busy working hard for the greatest football team in the state of Florida,” LaMarca said.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said the legislation also comes with a requirement that student athletes get financial literacy training. And he said it gives young athletes the chance to build entrepreneurial skills. He points to Milton’s experience creating Dreamfield.

“He’s engaged in a small business startup. Everything you can imagine—building it, going to other states, getting the corporation paperwork, all of those things he’s going to be exposed to before he even graduates. Those things he’s going to be exposed to before he even graduates. Those entrepreneurial skills that all of these guys will receive will pay such dividends for them throughout their whole life,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran credited Florida’s new law with helping to push change nation-wide. The NCAA has released an interim rule that allows athletes to profit on their name, image and likeness. The change came just as about a dozen state, including Florida, were poised to put their own rules in place. Corcoran says that put pressure on schools in state’s that didn’t pass the legislation.

Athletes across the state have already begun jumping on the chance to earn money using their name, image and likeness. Florida State University Offensive Lineman Dillan Gibbons announced on Twitter Thursday he’s using the opportunity to earn money for a go fund me to help a fan with disabilities travel to FSU.

By midnight on the day of the change, it had already earned nearly $8,000. At the time of this writing that total stands at more than $14,000.

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