NIL deals would expand under House bill

FAMU standout BJ Bohler. Photo courtesy: FAMU athletics

Florida lawmakers earlier this month officially moved to amend state law and enable universities to assist student-athletes with name, image, and likeness (NIL) endorsement deals that are currently generation billions of dollars.

HB 99 would repeal a provision in the 2020 Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation bill that prohibits a school “to direct” athletes to a business or entity interested in paying the student for marketing purposes. This essentially means the university’s staff would serve as  a “manager” for their student athletes. This decision will have a direct impact on athletes and help athletes land more NIL deals as well as help the less notable players get opportunities to benefit from their name, image and likeness.

NIL has not been around long but since its arrival, it has only made things easier for college athletes. It has allowed students to profit from the millions of dollars they help universities bring in during the season.

BJ Bohler, an All-American senior on the Florida A&M University football team, said his NIL deal has helped him tremendously as a student.

“Not only was it extra money in my pocket, but it made things much less stressful on me. Life as a collegiate athlete is already enough, trying to find and keep a job is too much on us,” Bohler said.

At FAMU, no more than 30 athletes university-wide have landed NIL deals. HB 99 would immediately change that for student athletes and allow FAMU to grow more as a brand. Considering most recipients of NIL deals are students of Power 5 schools — ACC, SEC, PAC-12, BIG 12 and BIG 10 — this bill would level the playing field by a lot. More athletes at schools like FAMU will get the opportunity to represent their university on a larger scale.

Jania Davis, a senior softball player at FAMU, believes everyone deserves a chance to be given the opportunity to gain recognition and money.

“Most universities bring in millions of dollars during every season and us athletes never get to see any of it. As a team, I think it is only fair for all of us to benefit from our hard work, sweat and dedication,” Davis said.

With this bill in place, the athletes at FAMU wold have almost as much opportunity as the athletes at schools like Florida State. They are at a clear disadvantage financially, but this bill would give more opportunities where they are deserved.