Florida Pheonix: “FL House ready to delve into the issue of paying college athletes”

The Florida House will kick off the first week of the 2020 session by looking at the issue of allowing college athletes to accept outside compensation.

The House Commerce, Education and Judiciary committees are scheduled to hold a three-hour workshop on the issue on Monday. The joint meeting will come a day before the Florida Legislature opens its 60-day annual session on Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who played collegiate baseball at Yale, has endorsed the concept of college athletes being paid for the commercial use of their names and images.

The NCAA, the group that regulates college athletics, has endorsed the proposal, if the compensation is provided “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

California has already adopted a law setting up a system in the nation’s largest state to pay college athletes.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Florida have filed bills for the 2020 session to allow Florida college athletes to be compensated.

One bill (HB 251), sponsored by Rep. Kionne McGhee, the leader of the House Democrats, would allow athletes to be paid from commercial deals beginning in 2023. The measure would create a task force to work out the details of the compensation system.

The News Service of Florida reported on comments made by Republican House Speaker Jose Oliva in a radio interview this week, in favor of the proposal.

“The discussion we’re having in Florida is about treating all student athletes the same and making sure that we are not restricting one group of athletes because they’re more valuable and their activity is more valuable than another,” Oliva said during an interview with a Tallahassee radio station. “I don’t think that any conservative would be in support of that.”

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