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New Florida laws make changes on college campuses

Changes include NCAA athlete profits and beliefs surveys
USF new laws
Posted at 6:39 AM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 07:58:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A few changes are coming to college campuses with new state laws going into effect July 1.

It’s a day many NCAA athletes have been dreaming of — with Florida’s new NIL bill, they can now make profits off their name, image, and likeness on things such as merchandise and social media.

“Like everyone says, we’re a brand, now we get to create our own brand and create our own identity,” Chris Oladokun, Florida A&M University’s quarterback told ABC Action News.

Universities have historically made billions off college athletes, while athletes don’t see a penny.

The NCAA also unanimously voted Wednesday, June 30, to adopt “a uniform interim policy suspending the organization’s name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports.”

The NCAA Division II Presidents Council chair Sandra Jordan said in a press release that they will reinforce, “key principles of fairness and integrity across the NCAA and maintains rules prohibiting improper recruiting inducements. It’s important any new rules maintain these principles.”

Another Florida bill affects a lot more students than just NCAA athletes. Starting this year, all public colleges and universities in Florida will be required to survey students on their beliefs.

The bill requires public colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments on the intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at these institutions,” Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference at Fort Myers Middle School.

According to the bill, the survey will look at “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”

We obviously want our universities to be based on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis added, “We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology, that's not worth taxpayer dollars, and that’s not something we’re gonna be supporting.”

The bill also allows students to record lectures without consent for possible legal action.

We caught up with some students at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus (USFSP) to ask their thoughts.

Samantha Harris is a senior at USFSP majoring in journalism.

I’ve never had that problem, but evidently maybe other people have, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with it,” Harris said.

Allison Richards is a junior who knew about the survey but wanted more details behind it.

I don’t know how it will affect students or if students will really want to take it or if they’re gonna make us take it, I’d want to see how it’s implemented,” she said.

While there’s no concrete plan for how the survey will be given or what will be done with the results, most universities and colleges we spoke with said they’re confident it will show a wide variety of opinions.

I am actually pretty interested to hear what those results may be. I'm not sure exactly what we're trying to get at, in particular, so much of it will be obviously determined by the questions that are posed in the actual survey,” explained Richard Senker, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Hillsborough Community College. “But I think it will be interesting data, particularly for our political scientists in the state of Florida.”

Those who oppose the survey fear it will have the opposite effect on their freedom of speech.

Most professors we reached out to via email denied commenting. One professor replied, “Sorry I couldn’t help more, but there you have a concrete example of the bill's chilling effect in action.”

The University of Florida told ABC Action News in a statement:

“The University of Florida is a marketplace of ideas where a wide variety of opinions are expressed and independent inquiry and vigorous academic deliberation are valued. We believe the survey will reflect that, and we look forward to widespread participation across campus.”

Florida is the only state in the country to implement this survey.