The effort to start allowing college athlete endorsements in Florida just became bipartisan


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A second House bill, this time from a Republican, has been filed to allow college student athletes in Florida to be able to cash in on their names and images.

The proposal (HB 287), filed Friday by Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, for the 2020 legislative session, is similar to a bill (HB 251) filed early last week by House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee, D-Miami. Both proposals seek to allow Florida college and university athletes to be compensated through endorsement deals.

The proposals resemble a controversial law signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The California law, which takes effect in 2023, allows student athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals. The students wouldn’t be paid by the schools. The NCAA has warned California that schools in the state could be blocked from intercollegiate events because the law could provide an unfair recruiting advantage.

“I look forward to working with our student athletes and university leaders on this important bill,” LaMarca tweeted Friday. “The time to act is now —- 2020 is the year that our student athletes will enter the free market!”

The 2020 legislative session will start Jan. 14. Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, questioned the proposal in an interview last week with The News Service of Florida. "My first impression is no,” Galvano said. “I think that you’re really blurring the lines of amateurism and professionalism."

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