News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE – Seismic changes to high-school sports in Florida kicked off this week, as the board that governs athletics signed off on a plan that will allow student-athletes to earn money from business agreements such as endorsement deals.

Members of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors on Tuesday unanimously approved an update to bylaws that will allow athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness, or NIL. The changes will be in effect for the upcoming school year.
The change will bring Florida into “new territory,” according to Monica Colucci, a Miami-Dade County school-board member who is president of the FHSAA board of directors.
“So there are going to be hesitations, we are going to feel nervous. But I do really believe that this is going to put us on par with the rest of the country. We are going to have some things that we have to face as a board. And we will do so. Because I really believe we are very capable and we are going to do the right thing for students, always. That is our top priority,” Colucci said during Tuesday’s meeting in Gainesville.
The revamped bylaws lay out what is — and isn’t — allowed for student-athletes inking NIL deals.
“Permissible activities” under the new NIL policy will include, but not be limited to, commercial endorsements, promotional activities, social media presence, and product or service advertisements.
But a slew of restrictions also will be in place as the floodgates open for endorsement deals.
For example, student-athletes will be prohibited from using their school’s logo, uniform or equipment in any NIL deals unless they are given written permission from the school, district or FHSAA.
Student-athletes also are banned from endorsing certain products, such as alcohol, tobacco, vaping, gambling, weapons, cannabis products and prescription drugs.
The FHSAA board also approved as part of the NIL rules a prohibition on endorsements related to “political or social activism.”
Another prohibition that has sparked debate within the FHSAA board is the barring of what are known as NIL “collectives,” which are funding organizations through which student-athlete compensation frequently is funneled.


Florida Supreme Court Justices on Thursday upheld Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to suspend Democratic Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell.
Worrell in September launched a legal challenge to the suspension, arguing DeSantis did not have a legal basis for suspending her from office.
DeSantis’ August executive order suspending Worrell included allegations that the state attorney, elected in 2020 in the 9th Judicial Circuit, had policies that prevented or discouraged assistant state attorneys from seeking minimum mandatory sentences for gun crimes and drug trafficking offenses.
Backing DeSantis in a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court said the governor made adequate allegations of neglect of duty and incompetence.
“While broad in its lawful scope, prosecutorial discretion is no complete defense to an allegation of incompetence or dereliction of duty,” Thursday’s main opinion said, in part.
But Justice Jorge Labarga dissented, basing his disagreement in part on decisions that state attorneys routinely make about issues such as whether adequate proof exists to pursue charges against defendants.
“If this (Supreme) Court permits Worrell’s suspension to stand based on the allegations set forth in the executive order, any time a state attorney’s office in Florida engages in similar case dispositions with some regularity because the specific challenges of the moment in the circuit require it, that state attorney may also face suspension and replacement despite having been overwhelmingly elected by the voters of the circuit,” Labarga wrote.
Chief Justice Carlos Muniz and Justices Charles Canady, John Couriel, Jamie Grosshans and Meredith Sasso shared the main opinion, while Justice Renatha Francis wrote a concurring opinion. All but Canady were appointed to the Supreme Court by DeSantis.
Labarga, along with Canady, was appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist.
Worrell was the second Democratic state attorney suspended by DeSantis last year. The governor also suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, a twice-elected Democrat. The state Supreme Court also rejected Warren’s challenge of his suspension.
DeSantis appointed Andrew Bain, who had served as an Orange County judge, to replace Worrell. But Worrell has qualified to run in the November election to try to win back the job. Bain also has qualified to run as a candidate without party affiliation.
The Florida Senate, which ultimately would be responsible for determining if Worrell is removed from office, has not taken action as the Supreme Court case was pending.


Three parents on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit challenging a controversial 2023 Florida law that ramped up scrutiny of school-library books and instructional materials, alleging the process for removing books unconstitutionally discriminates against parents who disagree with “the state’s favored viewpoint.”
The law (SB 1069), in part, made the process of objecting to books and instructional materials easier.
Plaintiffs in Thursday’s lawsuit are two parents from St. Johns County and one from Orange County. They contend Florida lacks a procedure for parents to object to book removals, an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment rights.
The law “only provides a mechanism for a parent to object to the affirmative use of material; it does not provide a mechanism for a parent to object to the lack of use or discontinued use of material,” the lawsuit said.
The parents allege that the law is a violation of free-speech rights because it provides or denies access to the book-review process “on the basis of a parent’s viewpoint,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote.

STORY OF THE WEEK: The Florida High School Athletic Association on Tuesday opened the door for student-athletes to earn money from business agreements such as endorsement deals, with the organization’s president calling the move a “good starting point.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “As the governing board, we can, as situations arise, we can tweak the bylaw. We can go back to it. We can revisit it as many times as we need to to make the modifications. But I do believe, as president of this organization, this is a very good starting point for us to move forward with.” — Monica Colucci, president of the Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors, which voted to allow student-athletes to profit from endorsement deals.