When people think that student-athletes benefit from their name, image, and likeness, schools like Tallahassee Community College don’t immediately spring to mind.
But athletes like former Tallahassee CC Eagle El Ellis could do a bundle by monetizing their social media pages. One of the nation’s top junior college basketball players in 2020-21, Ellis’ Instagram post announcing his commitment to Louisville garnered 3,988 likes and 540 comments. His verified account has over 9,200 subscribers. His most popular video has received almost 19,000 views.
Most of the buzz around Florida’s NIL legislation has been generated by the opportunities available to athletes attending Division I universities. But players from Florida College System schools like Tallahassee CC, Hillsborough Community College, and Pasco-Hernando State College can also benefit from the new state law.
While the bill was signed over a year ago, its details still seem unclear.
“(There are probably) as many unknowns as there are known to us right now,” said Tallahassee CC sporting director Rob Cheney.
Here are some of the questions asked of community and junior college athletic directors less than a week before the law comes into force on Thursday:
What organizations are considered to be those that “support” a school?
A section of the bill states that athletes cannot enter into agreements with organizations that conflict with their school’s current agreements. For example, if John Doe attends a Nike school, he cannot support the brand’s competitors, like Adidas or Under Armor.
Another section says athletes cannot sign agreements with organizations that support the schools they attend. This could mean that John Doe cannot sign a deal with Nike, Adidas or Under Armor.
“It could potentially be a recruiting violation, telling a rookie that we will get a compensation deal for him and that he will come from a school sponsor,” the College of Central Florida athletic director wrote. , Bob Zelinski, in an email.
Cheney, however, interprets the law differently. He does not see companies like Nike or Adidas as organizations that “support the school”. So while a college athlete in Nike cannot sign with Adidas, that doesn’t necessarily mean Nike deals are excluded as well.
How will athletes know their worth?
Another clause in the bill states that athletes should be paid fair market value for their services. But since representation (whether a lawyer or agent) is optional and must be paid for out of pocket, athletes are largely on their own.
This is an even greater disadvantage for two-year colleges.
“Unfortunately, our resources are limited,” Cheney wrote, “so it’s unlikely that any of us will be able to develop a strong NIL education program that could provide insight into this issue.”
How are financial literacy requirements met?
College athletes are required to complete five hours of financial literacy and life skills classes, orientation sessions and / or workshops at the start of their first and third year. This requirement can also be met by the “college success” courses that already exist in Florida schools, but no one is sure which ones. It is likely that most schools will exceed the five-hour minimum by reviewing some of the athlete orientation material and enrolling athletes in a three-credit college success course, Cheney said.
At a meeting of the Florida Board of Education on June 10, Chancellor of the Florida College System, Kathy Hebda, said all athletes attending Florida community or junior colleges must take these courses, which they profit or plan to profit from their name, their image and their likeness. She also said that these classes would be free.
Zelinski said colleges are still awaiting further advice from the Florida Department of Education on this requirement. Do all athletes have to take these courses, or only those who have a scholarship? Will the credit for these courses follow athletes transferred to another institution?
How will the recruits be educated?
At the June 10 meeting, Hebda said colleges are responsible for telling recruits how they will apply NIL legislation. This way, athletes know exactly what they are getting into before signing their LOIs.
At the College of Central Florida in Ocala, recruits will receive a NIL contract outlining their responsibilities for making money. Florida SouthWestern State College expects the NIL to impact men’s basketball more than any other sport, so the logistics will be discussed when orienting student-athletes rather than throughout the cycle. recruitment, spokesman Roy Allen said. Schools like Tallahassee CC are still figuring this out.
How long are offers allowed?
Since many athletes use community colleges as a springboard to Division I sports, these schools need to determine what happens to an athlete’s offerings if they transfer. There is no concrete answer.
Zelinski said the College of Central Florida was waiting for more information from the state. Allen interprets the law as allowing athletes to approve products regardless of when and where they made a deal as long as they are still playing college sports. Cheney understands that an athlete’s contracts from Tallahassee CC must end when they leave this school.
“The law already specifies that no contract can extend beyond its participation in a sports program at a post-secondary institution,” wrote a spokesperson for the Department of Education in an email.
But the state has not clarified whether that means the agreements must end when an athlete has finished playing sports at a particular school or when they have finished playing at any school.