TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis thinks college athletes should be able to profit off their names, images and likeness.
At a press conference Thursday, the governor, who was himself a baseball captain at Yale, announced he is supporting HB 251, which would require students participating in intercollegiate athletics to receive specified compensation, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
“I think the benefit of this would be for some of the smaller communities that may have student-athletes that are known locally and I think women’s athletics has a great opportunity to benefit from this,” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day it’s about fairness, and student-athletes shouldn’t be treated worse than anybody else.”
Rep. Kionne McGhee, the Democratic House minority leader filed the bill on Sept. 30.
McGhee joined DeSantis at the press conference Thursday to stress that the bill had bipartisan support.
“We’re sick and tired of the hypocrisy within a classroom setting where young athletes are taught about capitalism and taught about the free market but are being told, on the other hand, they cannot participate because they have a gift,” McGhee said.
DeSantis said he expects some lawmakers to push back on the legislation, but said he’s confident the matter “can be addressed in a way that will maintain college athletics as really special thing but also provide the ability for our student athletes to be able to benefit just like anybody else would be able to benefit.”
If the bill passes, Florida may become the second state behind California to allow college athletes to profit from endorsements.
Georgia and Minnesota have also filed similar legislation.
“When I look to see good policy ideas, California is usually not the first place I look, but I think California was on the right track saying that there needs to be reform to athletes being able to use at the collegiate level their name, image and likeness,” the governor said.
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