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Sports Law

What To Do If You Wish To Rep College Athletes In Florida

In 94 days, the State of Florida is set to become the first to give college athletes the right to commercialize their publicity rights (i.e. name, image, and likeness — “NIL”). The establishment of these rights will put athletes in a position of power, but also provide sports agents with opportunities that have not existed in the past. Under Florida’s law, licensed athlete agents in the state will be able to assist college athletes with procuring and negotiating deals surrounding their NIL.

The language states, “Notwithstanding athletic conference or collegiate athletic association rules, bylaws, regulations, and policies to the contrary, an athlete agent may represent an intercollegiate athlete in securing compensation for the use of her or his name, image, or likeness.”

Florida’s statute also allows non-agent attorneys, licensed in the State of Florida, to represent college athletes as of July 1.

The relevant language in that regard states, “A postsecondary educational institution may not prevent or unduly restrict an intercollegiate athlete from obtaining professional representation by an athlete agent or attorney engaged for the purpose of securing compensation for the use of her or his name, image, or likeness . . . An attorney representing an intercollegiate athlete for purposes of securing compensation for the use of her or his name, image, or likeness must be a member in good standing of The Florida Bar.”

Non-lawyers who wish to work with college athletes on their endorsement deals should not waste any time in becoming properly licensed in the State of Florida. Athlete agents are regulated by Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Applicants must be at least 18-years-old, pass a background check, and pay the required application fee of $630.

It can take some time before the DBPR processes an athlete agent application. As such, make sure to contact the department for a temporary athlete agent license while the application is pending. A temporary license is valid for 60 days, and it may not be extended.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.