Student athlete pay, bear poaching bills sent to Gov. DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposal intended to prod NCAA leaders to expand the opportunity for student athletes to earn money off the field was among 22 bills sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, a former college baseball player, on Thursday.

Another measure (HB 327) sent to the governor would impose stiffer fines for poaching black bears out of season in an effort to crack down on a proliferation of bears illegally being killed for their gallbladders.

Other measures sent to DeSantis would increase fines on motorists that drive past stopped school buses (HB 37); regulate electric bicycles in the same manner as pedal-powered bicycles, instead of as motorized vehicles (HB 971); and exclude full-time students ages 18 to 21 who attend high school or college from jury service (SB 738).

The athlete compensation bill (SB 646), which would establish rights for students and schools, would allow college students to have professional representation through agents licensed by the state or attorneys in good standing with The Florida Bar. Colleges and universities would be prohibited from putting restrictions on athletes earning outside compensation or receiving professional representation. Schools also wouldn’t be able to revoke or reduce scholarships of athletes who earn off-field pay. The bill would prohibit college athletes from making personal deals that conflict with the terms of team contracts.

The bill would go into effect on July 1, 2021. The delay is designed to give the NCAA time to make its own changes.

The Florida proposal was spurred by a 2019 California law that will allow college athletes in that state to hire agents and sign endorsement deals starting in 2023.

DeSantis, who was the captain of the Yale University baseball team, has until June 26 to act on the bills.