ORLANDO, Fla. — A new law went into effect Thursday allowing college athletes in Florida to be paid for their name, image, and likeness.
Nearly overnight, a website founded by Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton and five partners went live.
The new sports marketing company pairs college athletes with business opportunities, like autographs and paid, in-person appearances.
A search of the athlete’s name will display their rate; Milton can be hired for $2,000 per hour.
Current University of Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel launched his own brand as Florida joined several other states allowing college athletes to control and profit from their own name, image, and likeness.
UCF Athletic Director Terry Mohajir says Gabriel has his full support.
“That’s the whole idea of going to college right? Getting an education, getting a degree, and getting a job?” Mohajir said.
A former college athlete and coach himself, Mohajir says the concept isn’t new, since the NCAA already grants up to 90 waivers a year on name, image, and likeness.
However, Mohajir says he is concerned about the risk of recruiting abuse, and predators who may seek to profit from the athletes themselves.
The biggest challenge, Mohajir says, lies in setting proper boundaries.
“We can guide them and say hey, I think you need to go talk to this person about the deal, but you can’t be involved in the deal,” Mohajir said. “That’s going to be challenging to navigate.”
New state regulations allow athletes to hire agents, but require them to disclose all compensation to their scholarship programs.
UCF has also added in-house counsel as a service for student-athletes, and is preparing to provide financial literacy education.
McKenzie Milton released a statement through FSU Thursday saying, in part, he’s “excited to be part of this new era,” where he and his teammates are “uniquely situated to utilize the same opportunities as every other college student.”
From that, Mohajir sees a far-reaching effect.
“Everybody sees it as the star athlete that’s going to profit off this and really benefit the most,” Mohajir said. “We’re going to have a lot of people from Olympic sports who do very well as a result of this.
Florida State’s Athletic Director says the biggest area of limbo right now is for foreign student-athletes whose visas don’t permit them to earn income while they’re in the United States. That conflict can only be resolved on a national level.
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