Miami AD Blake James urges college athlete endorsement laws to be extended nationally

©Sun Sentinel

Miami Hurricanes athletic director Blake James speaks to reporters on Monday. - David Furones / Sun Sentinel/David Furones / Sun Sentinel/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

The Miami Hurricanes are one of the Florida programs that could figure to see the immediate benefits of the state’s recent bill to allow college athletes to profit from endorsements beginning in July of 2021.

While Florida schools could see a recruiting advantage come from such a law that has not yet been passed in most other states, UM athletic director Blake James feels this is legislation that needs to be extended nationwide.

“I think we need to create opportunities for kids to legitimately capitalize on name, image and likeness,” said James on ACC Network this week. “In the state of Florida, that’s the direction that we’ve gone, but we need to do that nationally.

“We can’t have different laws for every single state. I do think there needs to be involvement at a national level. I know Senator (Marco) Rubio introduced legislation to address it as a national issue in the Senate.”

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill on June 12 at UM’s Coral Gables campus, Hurricanes football coach Manny Diaz expressed a similar sentiment to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, anticipating swift reaction elsewhere.

“By the time next summer comes around, I think, the landscape will look differently to not create competitive imbalance,” Diaz said.

The Florida bill was sparked by a 2019 California law that will allow college athletes in that state to hire agents and sign endorsement deals but won’t go into effect until 2023.

James added that the legislation is a fair way to allow student-athletes to earn money for their marketability, while maintaining amateur status because compensation comes from third parties — and not directly from universities.

“I think our leaders did a very good job of understanding some of the differences of college athletics versus the professional game and putting some safeguards in place that, I think, make the Florida law one that will help keep the recruiting and booster involvement out of it,” James said. “We want to keep the game at the college level clean and keep the integrity of the game involved and make it about an educational experience — not about a money-grabbing experience.”


©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)