Jun 12, 2020
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis June 12 Press Conference Transcript: Allowing Athletes to Earn Endorsement Money
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference on Friday, June 12. Today DeSantis signed a college athlete compensation bill, which will allow college athletes in the state to earn money from endorsement deals. Read the details in the news briefing transcript here.
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Blake James: (00:49)
Good afternoon. My name is Blake James, Director of Athletics at the University of Miami. I’d like to welcome you to the University of Miami Hecht Athletic Center and the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice facility.
Blake James: (01:00)
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Senator Mayfield, Representative LaMarca, Representative McGee, Representative Rodriguez, President Frank, Hilarie Bass, and the board of trustee members, distinguished guests and student athletes, it is an honor to have all of you here for an important announcement regarding collegiate athletics. The state of Florida and the governor, a former baseball student-athlete himself, have been great partners of the university and college athletics in general. Governor, we applaud your vision for the state, and we’re very proud to have you here with us today.
Blake James: (01:35)
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Governor Ron DeSantis.
Ron DeSantis: (01:38)
Ron DeSantis: (01:42)
Well, thanks, Blake. It’s really great to be here at the U. Particularly with a piece of legislation that I personally was supportive of from the beginning. We have some of the legislators here who helped make it happen. We have Representatives LaMarca and McGee in the House, Senator Mayfield in the Senate. I think we have Anna Maria as well here.
Ron DeSantis: (02:04)
This whole issue of student athletes and being able to receive compensation for their likeness or image, use of that, is something that’s been bubbling to the surface in the last couple years. I viewed it as something that was a matter of fairness. Now, just understand what we’re not talking about, we’re not talking about you get a scholarship to Florida State or Miami and the universities are going to pay you to play. That’s not what we’re talking about. You’re an amateur. You’re going to get on scholarship. You’re going to get to play, get an education. That same basic model is the same. But if you have a situation where you have some of the great athletes, particularly in sports like football and basketball, whose name, image, and likeness is being used to make millions and millions of dollars, and then they don’t even have the opportunity to get any of that, there’s something fundamentally unfair for that.
Ron DeSantis: (02:59)
I was sitting, I remember we were at one of the college games this past year, and I saw the band come out. I thought to myself, any one of those band members could do a YouTube channel, make a lot of money as a student and no one would say anything, but then when the players came out, if you had a player that would be able to have their image and make money off the image, then somehow that was just foreboden. It was really treating the athletes, I think, less favorably than the average student. But the bill does not do anything about paying an athlete from a university. They’re still amateurs. But if EA sports wants to do NCAA football, and they’re going to have some of these guys who are great players, and they’re going to use their name, image and likeness, then there can be some compensation for that.
Ron DeSantis: (03:50)
I think it’s a matter of fairness, California did a similar bill that would apply, I think, in 2023. Our bill here in Florida is effective, well, it’s effective upon signing, but the actual new regime will go into place basically one year from July. You’re going to have 2021, Florida will really be leading the way on this. Now there is going to be a lot of different things that are going to need to be filled in, in terms of the gaps of how this is structured. It’s not necessarily going to be the Wild West. There’s definitely going to be rules and regulations, and that will all be done by the board of governors and the other entities involved here. But I think it really is Florida leading the way on this, and I think it’s an inappropriate thing. We have some student athletes back here at University of Miami.
Ron DeSantis: (04:38)
It’s also important to think when you’re talking about something like this we tend to think of the really superstar folks who’ve played great, all of our great universities here, Heisman Trophy winners, great basketball players, whatever, and obviously that’s going to be a big issue. But you also have sports that Florida schools have done very well in. Maybe the compensation wouldn’t be for name, image, and likeness, what it would be for a Heisman Trophy winning football player, but if you’re coming from a low-income background, to be able to get some, some extra financial assistance, that can make a huge difference in somebody being able to really fulfill their education and their athletics in a way that removes a lot of burdens from them.
Ron DeSantis: (05:27)
I think across the board you’re going to see benefits. Obviously the sports that get the most attention, you’re going to see more people probably be interested in some of that. But still even somebody that played baseball, not as big as football or basketball, generally speaking, but still gives those students an opportunity. Then in Florida, we’ve got a lot of great women’s athletics, soccer, all these different things, women’s basketball, that we have a lot of great athletes competing. I think it’ll be very good for women athletes as well.
Ron DeSantis: (06:00)
I’m happy today, we have a couple legends from our state who’ve played at different schools. Jonathan Vilma, everybody here knows, a fantastic player. I did bring from Tallahassee, Corey Simon, into enemy territory as a former FSU Nole. I just want to be clear for the record, there’s not live sports on right now. What they do is they will replay some of these old games. The other day, I think it was about a week ago, ESPN was replaying the 2003 national championship game between Miami and Ohio state. Jonathan, I just want to be very clear, and if I need to do an executive order to the effect, I will, but I think it’s the policy of the state of Florida that that pass interference call was a bum call and that the University of Miami deserved to win that game and another national championship. I told Corey I was thinking about doing something, but Corey said, as a FSU Nole it didn’t break my heart to see that call happen because that’s just the rivalry. But really great players here who both won national championships and then both had great careers in the NFL.
Ron DeSantis: (07:17)
Jonathan just got another job, he’s going to be one of the main color commentators for Fox’s NFL season. I look forward to hearing him call a lot of Tom Brady games with the Tampa Bay Bucs because I’ll be watching those on Sunday. But I wanted to give both of them the chance to come up, talk about what this would mean for student athletes. Then we’ll hear from our Lieutenant Governor and some of the legislators. Then I’ll sign the bill.
Ron DeSantis: (07:40)
Jonathan, if you want to come up, and the floor is yours.
Jonathan Vilma: (07:45)
Jonathan Vilma: (07:48)
Thank you for that warm welcome, Governor DeSantis.
Jonathan Vilma: (07:50)
This is a historic moment. I appreciate you taking the University of Miami and not that that other school over there to come down and sign the bill because we, when I say we, I still refer to myself as a student-athlete, we watched as other people were profiting and making money and we enjoyed, one, playing, two, getting our education, and then for some of us that were lucky enough to go on to a professional sports, whether it was basketball or football, we were fortunate where we started in receiving a scholarship, but at the same time, we still understood the economics of what we did and how much we produced financially for the university, for college sports in general. We had always felt that there was going to come a tipping point for the student athletes to finally come together and say enough is enough in regards to financing and being compensated for your image and likeness.
Jonathan Vilma: (08:47)
I think that one good step was a state of California. Their bill won’t go into enact in 2023. I love that Governor DeSantis essentially one-upped them one, took a much more comprehensive look at what it is to only give the benefits and not allow let’s say boosters to get involved, which then starts to deteriorate the credibility of college sports. I also applaud that part, Governor DeSantis, to really think through what it is that we’re trying to accomplish right now. We’re not trying to accomplish boosters meddling in with college sports and college athletes, agents getting paid and everyone now starting to ruin the game of college sports. Because of its purity, that’s why we love college sports. We did that and not only did Governor DeSantis do that, he then took it a step further and said we’re going to enact this in 2021.
Jonathan Vilma: (09:40)
That puts a lot of pressure on the NCAA because, frankly, that has been the crux of everyone’s issue right now is the NCAA kind of sitting back and for we’re talking 30 years now where players have whispered about it. They’ve rumbled about it. They’ve said, “Hey, how come we’re not getting paid NCAA-like status quo?” Unfortunately for them, the time has come. Fortunately for us, we have a Governor in Governor DeSantis that said we’re going to push the agenda and we’re going to push it immediately, forcing the NCAA to act.
Jonathan Vilma: (10:11)
Again, I thank you, Governor DeSantis, I applaud his efforts. I applaud our efforts. I’m nothing but happy for the college student athletes and their college experience. I think it will be better for it. Again, these are all pluses to keep up, frankly, keep up with the times of college sports.
Jonathan Vilma: (10:30)
Ron DeSantis: (10:30)
Ron DeSantis: (10:34)
Well, thanks a lot, Jonathan. thanks for all you’re doing for the University of Miami.
Ron DeSantis: (10:39)
Corey Simon was a really feared defensive lineman for Florida State, part of the national championship that they won in the late ’90s under coach Bowden, and had a great career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is originally from South Florida, but makes his home now in the Tallahassee area. He’s involved with a lot of youth sports, youth football in Tallahassee and was with us at the beginning of this when we announced that this was the way to go. We had [Kioni 00:11:10], we had Chip and Corey was being able to speak from the athlete’s perspective, saying that this would be a good idea.
Ron DeSantis: (11:15)
I would remind people, when we did that press conference last fall, I think within a week the NCAA came out and said, “Hey, we’re going to have to reevaluate this,” cause California had fallen. But California’s out. But then when you add Florida, those are two real heavyweights there. I know some other states are now starting to look at this as well. This will, I think, create even more incentive to do it.
Ron DeSantis: (11:39)
But I wanted to let Corey Simon come up and say a few words, in enemy territory.
Corey Simon: (11:46)
Go, Noles. That’s right. Go, Noles.
Corey Simon: (11:49)
Thank you, Governor. Thank you, legislater. The fact that we stood in the capitol last fall and talked about this and brought it to the attention of everybody out there, it’s encouraging to see it move through both the House and the Senate and now become law.
Corey Simon: (12:08)
I want you all to take a look, and those that are out there, to take a look at this from the player perspective. Not just the player, but the student-athlete. A lot of kids, and you can ask them all, a lot of kids sacrifice to come to college as student-athletes because many of them were working, bringing money in the home and the parents said, “Listen, you have to go get this education. You have to go live your dream.” But they still left behind a burden that they deal with every single day. They’re not only trying to feed themselves, but they’re trying to send money home and help their families. I think we get caught up in the moment where we start to look at athletes as we’re just robots and we’re out there just playing a game for everybody’s enjoyment. But once we leave that court, once we leave that field, there’s still a responsibility that we have to our communities, to our homes that we have to carry. What this does is this-
Corey Simon: (13:08)
… Instagram, she should be able to monetize that. She should be able to take advantage of that. Some of these players that come in, it’s that old adage strike while the iron’s hot. Well, for some of them, it will never be as hot as it is when they step foot on a college campus. If we’re sending these players into these campuses and we’re saying, “Okay, well you go to class and you study real hard to get a good job,” but we don’t tell that to all the other folks that are out there that are just students and they can go and make money while they’re in college, then we’re cheating these student-athletes.
Corey Simon: (13:46)
I’m so proud of what the governor and the legislature has done to now make this a reality for our young-
Corey Simon: (13:52)
… universities can do to help these students, and some of that is written into this bill. I’d love to see those universities really start to teach these young athletes what it is to make money and how to take care of it and how to make that money work for you and not waste it. That’s my charge to our student-athletes is, you’re going to get some money, don’t waste it, take care of it, make sure you have something when you leave college.
Corey Simon: (14:18)
Thank you, guys. Thanks, everybody that has made this happen. Governor, thank you again.
Ron DeSantis: (14:23)
Speaker 9: (14:29)
Good afternoon. It’s such a pleasure to be here with you all today.
Speaker 9: (14:33)
As we all know, the sunshine state has long been the envy and a powerhouse for college athletics. We have a long and proud history of not only producing national championship teams, but also providing a pipeline to professional and Olympic sports. I would say that today as I stand here at the U, and I must admit, I did not attend the University of Miami, but like everyone in my age bracket, grew up a proud Hurricanes fan, watching a dynasty. It is a great privilege to be able to be here and see this bill come to fruition.
Speaker 9: (15:06)
Oftentimes we have neglected to account and emphasize the importance of those individual athletes. Yes, our programs have benefited financially and our state has garnered the type of distinction that long has provided a pipeline, again, for these individual athletes to pursue and further their careers. But today, I think we are proud, under Governor DeSantis’ leadership and the leadership of our legislators that are here today, to ensure that individual athletes will no longer be relegated to the sidelines, no pun intended, and forbidden from benefiting financially from their name, likeness and image. Today as Governor DeSantis signs this bill into law, we’re ensuring that those select few who trained and who have sacrificed, as you heard our former athletes talk about that they have spent countless hours, and those that have felt the pain of crushed bones and crushed spirits along the way, that they will be able to be compensated. I think that’s a wonderful opportunity for our athletes and our students. I think we have no better way of doing that with a governor who understands all too well the importance, the dedication of student athletics.
Speaker 9: (16:17)
I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to be a part of it. To our former athletes and our current athletes that are standing behind us, I say, congratulations, and let’s bring back some more championships to our state. I know the governor’s looking forward to that and I am as well. Thank you all very much.
Speaker 9: (16:32)
I think we’re going to turn it over to our senator. Is that correct, Governor?
Ron DeSantis: (16:35)
Yeah, go ahead.
Debbie Mayfield: (16:41)
Thank you, guys, for being here. I will tell you this, a true story, is when I first found out about this bill, my son, Evan, who is at Troy State University, studying a master’s program in sports management, said, “Mom, you guys need to get up to speed on this. California has this bill, and as Governor DeSantis says, Florida needs to be the leader in this.” I reached out and it just happened that Representative LaMarca, who is going to be speaking next, had a bill in the House side. I asked him, I said, “Well, can I sponsor this on the Senate side? This is really something that has been needed for a long time.”
Debbie Mayfield: (17:18)
As I spoke to the student-athletes behind me, we have so many talented students here in Florida, and they deserve to be able to take their talent and be able to understand and learn the free enterprise. As governor DeSantis said, this is about a fairness. There are students that are able to do that, but yet our 11,000 athletic students in college are not able to do that. I was excited to be able to be part of this program. I think this is a great day in the state of Florida, that’ll allow this. As Governor DeSantis said earlier, the bill will not go into effect for a year, so some of these athletes standing behind us will not be able to benefit, but a lot of them will. In speaking to them, they are really support of this, and they know this is a long time coming. As it was also said that the NCAA, this is going to put pressure on them to have to do something.
Debbie Mayfield: (18:11)
Governor DeSantis, thank you. This was at the right time to be able to do this. I want to thank our other guests that were here and supportive of this. A bill is very hard to keep clean going through the process, and that’s what we did with this bill because we knew an exact vision that we wanted this to do in order for this, to get through the process and pass. I think that’s the product that we came up with. Thank you, guys, for coming out to this event. I look forward to some really great success outcome of allowing our students to be able to do this. Thank you.
Chip LaMarca: (18:47)
Thank you, Senator.
Chip LaMarca: (18:49)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you have a governor who was a starter and not a backup. We brought this issue to Governor DeSantis back in committee week meetings. We sat and talked about it and he was very cautious about issues of finances and making sure students were prepared. We started rolling these things into the bill and, as Senator Mayfield mentioned, we did sit and talk with quite a few senators before we kind of went down this road together. I was proud to have the support of the minority leader, McGee, in the Florida House.
Chip LaMarca: (19:24)
But one of the things that we didn’t talk about here, about our student-athletes. You heard from two amazing ones. Trust me if Florida State was Kicker U., there would’ve never been a Linebacker U. Unfortunately, they weren’t. Those were some great games. But when you think about Florida, Florida State, Miami, and even some of the other teams, but for them all being in one state, there’d be a lot more championships here.
Chip LaMarca: (19:45)
What we didn’t talk about though, were these student-athletes that were described by two former student athletes, that 19% of them are struggling with homelessness. Up to 24% are struggling with food insecurity. You think everything is here. Well, students were asked to go home, but they weren’t necessarily sent to their own home if they didn’t have one, and they weren’t necessarily sent with food. The folks here at University of Miami were the very first leaders we spoke with and we spoke to them all around the state of Florida. They were very gracious with their time. They came up to our office and we talked about these issues. But while so many, as was mentioned, while so many people profited off their talents, these young students are left behind in an athletic system, quite honestly, that’s centered on greed. But today we changed that. We changed that with Governor DeSantis.
Chip LaMarca: (20:29)
As I had said before, Florida is not a follower, we’re a bold leader that takes steps and leads while others sit on the sidelines. Today with the athletic directors, university leaders, sports industry professionals, former and current athletes, and these amazing student-athletes that are behind us, and Corey, I hate to correct you because you’re bigger than me, but she had 1.5 million Instagram followers, Dani [Castellanos 00:20:51] did, and she’s now playing professional. Thank God, because she could not use those while she was in school.
Chip LaMarca: (20:56)
Wearing a school’s jersey should not mean choosing between your talent and earning money to support your education and your family. Now more than ever, as we’ve seen, students must have the flexibility to continue their education, provide for themselves and their families. Every one of the nearly half-million student-athletes across the United States of America should be able to earn from their talent. If the third largest state in the United States can do it, then so can the collegiate athlete organization.
Chip LaMarca: (21:21)
When I began this journey, as I mentioned, the team did not expect this outpouring of support. We’re honored to be able to spend a few minutes with the governor. I can tell you that it does help to be from Broward County when his chief of staff is from Broward County. I want to say thank you to you, Governor DeSantis, for your steadfast support of this. Looking forward to seeing the bill not only signed but implemented next July. I think what you’re going to do here, along with the other legislators and the people who’ve spoken about this, is changed the conversation that the NCAA, the NAIA or anyone else is having. From the United States Congress and Senate perspective, we’re going to finally start seeing these bills come where they’re national, and we’ll be able to do this around the entire country. I don’t really want to, of course, we all want to have Florida have a little benefit, but for this first year, until they get their act together, maybe we’ll have a benefit. Governor, thank you very much.
Ron DeSantis: (22:10)
Speaker 12: (22:11)
Thank you. Let me begin by saying, Corey, don’t worry about it. We’ve enacted a ceasefire, so we’re going to be all right here.
Speaker 12: (22:16)
Secondly, let me just say this to Mr. Governor. Thank you very much. It seems like yesterday when we met and we discussed the intricacies of the bill. You were steadfast. You stood on the right side of history. You understood the importance and the fairness of something of this nature.
Speaker 12: (22:33)
Secondly, let me think my colleagues in the Florida House and also Senator for the reality check. Many people say that Democrats and Republicans tend to have a problem when it comes down to putting the people’s interests first, but what we’ve realized through this bill is that we as elected officials, we have bosses, and the bosses have spoken throughout the great state of Florida. They said that they wanted their students, their kids who are great athletes to have an opportunity to capitalize off of their name, their image, and their likeness. We understood early on that it was an unfair process. We understood also that the status quo that the NCAA held was wrong. We challenged them, and we’re not going to back down.
Speaker 12: (23:20)
To all the college student-athletes out there, fairness is here. This is the day that you’ve been waiting for. We’re standing 100% with you. Yes, I am going to close and say this: Go, U.
Ron DeSantis: (23:38)
Well, thanks to all the legislators. I’ll sign this bill in a minute. I would just say that Florida is leading on this. If you’re a blue-chip high school recruit out there thinking about where you want to go, one of our Florida schools, I think is a great landing spot for anywhere in the country, but particularly for all our great Florida high school players. Stay in state. I don’t want to see people going to Alabama and Clemson. I know they’ve got good programs, but I think there’s nothing better than winning a national championship in your home state. Maybe this will be added enticement. We’ll see what happens, but I think it’s a great first step. It will be law in about a minute. I’m happy to sign it.
Ron DeSantis: (24:20)
You guys want to gather around?
Ron DeSantis: (24:21)
All right. Here you go.
Speaker 13: (24:21)
Ron DeSantis: (24:21)
Here you go. Where’s Chip? All right. What is today’s date? The 12th?
Speaker 14: (24:43)
Ron DeSantis: (24:46)
Alright, Corey. Thank you. All right, last one. Who wants it? There we go.
Ron DeSantis: (25:03)
All right, it’s done. Good job, everybody.
Ron DeSantis: (25:06)
All right. I think I’ll stop over here and do a little press over there and then we’ll head out.
Ron DeSantis: (25:18)
Stand behind the podium? All right-