McKay, other Rattlers hoping to cash in

Bragg Stadium was the place to be Saturday evening. Photo by Oriana Plummer

It’s a new world order for college athletes thanks to Senate Bill 646, which was approved by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this summer.

The bill broadened endorsement and monetary opportunities for college athletes and allows them to create revenue from their name, image and likeness (NIL). The law went into effect July 1.

NIL laws currently exist in 27 states and more states are considering similar legislation. Florida is one of 11 states taking the lead on enforcing the new NIL laws.

Rasean McKay, a quarterback for Florida A&M, is one of many student-athletes hoping to cash in.

“I honestly enjoy the opportunity for us to be able to monetize anything, especially as a college athlete. We have the ability to take it to the next level. It’s preparing us for the NFL. You’re truly getting paid to do what you love and that’s a blessing,” he said.

“ We’re at an HBCU so we don’t always receive stipends. The new NIL law can give us an opportunity for more coverage and expand our individual brands. HBCUs will gain more attention from those athletes that may have had to make a decision based on a school’s funding or their personal funding. I enjoy seeing other athletes post online about their new deals,” he added.

Not everyone believes the new law is a good thing. Distinguished FAMU alumni, Hall of Famer and retired physical education instructor Vernell Ross said:  “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. As athletes, the value of a scholarship is quite a special gift. The bill already poses a lot of difficult information that has to be properly interpreted to be effective. I don’t see where change is necessary.”

High schools, colleges and universities are preparing to educate their student athletes about NIL. For many, the NIL bill poses new opportunities.

Rob Chaney, Tallahassee Community College’s athletic director, said it’s an ongoing effort.

“As a two-year college, it’s all about educating the collegiate athletes. We want to provide accurate and effective information to make sure every option is explained thoroughly, as well as the rules that may apply. We will begin educating them on the proper steps to this new process, to ensure their eligibility for what the bill allows,” he said.

Corey Fuller, a former NFL player and former interim head coach at Florida A&M, believes this is a positive development for student-athletes.

“It’s gonna be big for people that have an image. It gives them the opportunity to make money. Overall more people will be upset, because everyone won’t be able to benefit from this,” Fuller said. “It will only be but so many kids you can market. I think kids and players should continue to go to college even if you don’t have a marketable name. Your goal is to go to college and get a degree in the process.”

NIL rules are set to stay in place until the NCAA or federal legislation is enacted.