On July 1, a new Florida law granting college athletes the right to profit off of their names, images, and likenesses went into effect. This new law, combined with new rules from the NCAA and individual institutions, opens the door for sponsorship deals between South Florida businesses and local or nationally known college athletes. Both businesses and athletes are eager to take advantage of this new opportunity, and The Lomnitzer Law Firm, P.A., South Florida’s premier intellectual property, business, and sports and entertainment legal practice, is working hard to facilitate as many sponsorship agreements as possible. Starting with finding them the right litigation attorney!
The new law and new NCAA rules allow college athletes to make money by selling the right to use their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This means the athletes, who are typically too busy with school and sports to hold down a regular job, can accept money from businesses in exchange for allowing the business to feature them in advertisements or products.
Athletes may also use their status as a college athlete to promote their own businesses, sell autographs, do paid public appearances, or run paid social media ads on their personal accounts.
This change comes after years of athletes protesting the fact that they had to give up the right to profit from their NIL — a right virtually everyone in America has — in order to play for their alma mater.
Florida athletes and businesses wasted no time taking advantage of this new opportunity.
College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving became the first sponsor of an entire team, the Central Florida women’s basketball squad.
University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King is also working with College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving, but that is not the only thing he has going on. He has leveraged his star power to get an endorsement deal with Murphy Auto Group and The Wharf Miami, and launch his own branded merchandise. He has also teamed up with FSU quarterback McKenzie Milton to co-found Dreamfield, which will schedule bookings of live events for college athletes, including speaking appearances and autograph signings. The company is also investigating the possibility of creating digital sports trading cards for college athletes using NFT technology.
According to ESPN, “Florida State offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons announced on July 1 that he was using the new rule changes to raise money via a GoFundMe to help a friend, Timothy Donovan, who suffers from an incurable disease that impacts nerves in his hands and feet.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Lomnitzer Law Firm, P.A. expects to see many innovative sponsorship agreements announced as the school year begins. Our diverse team of intellectual property litigation attorneys with sports and advertising experience are working to facilitate endorsements, traditional advertising campaigns, and social media sponsorships. We are also making sure Florida athletes comply with all the relevant rules when making paid public appearances or signing autographs, launching merchandise, promoting their own companies, or raising funds for charity.
Although the biggest restriction on the type of deals South Florida businesses and athletes can come up with is their own imagination, there are team rules, school rules, state laws, and state and federal advertising laws that everyone must comply with.
For example, Florida law prohibits an athlete from entering into a contract for NIL compensation if a term of the contract conflicts with a term of the athlete’s team contract.
The NCAA rules prohibit pay-for-play arrangements and money that is used as a recruitment tool.
It would be really unfortunate for a college athlete to lose playing time or otherwise be punished for trying to capitalize on their NIL, so it is very important that the athlete retains the right intellectual property litigation attorney when these deals are negotiated and implemented.
This is a new and changing area of the law, so it is important that players and sponsors carefully consider whether the deals they strike comply with team rules, school rules, NCAA rules, Florida law, and relevant state and federal advertising laws. The best way to ease the burden of ensuring compliance with this web of regulations is to work with an experienced intellectual property litigation attorney like those at The Lomnitzer Law Firm, P.A.
Our diverse team of intellectual property, business, and sports and entertainment lawyers is ready to assist businesses and athletes in South Florida and beyond score points by taking advantage of NIL opportunities. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.