Florida State Representative Chip LaMarca (R – Lighthouse Point) released the following statement with Ramogi Huma, President of the National Collegiate Players Association (NCPA), and Darren Heitner of Heitner Legal:
Yesterday Clemson University took action to force Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his girlfriend to shut down a GoFundMe page they launched together that raised $2,700 to help Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While University officials cited NCAA rules as their reasoning, the pair said they were donating money raised by the site to No Kid Hungry and Meals on Wheels.
The NCAA last night reached out to Clemson about the fundraiser and said that it will allow “university discretion” on charities related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Chip LaMarca says “Clemson’s move was shortsighted and wrong. I am pleased the NCAA is allowing university discretion relating to collegiate athletes who want to help others at this time of crisis. With Trevor’s GoFundMe page being reinstated, the world still turned, the sun still rose, and the sky is not falling. Clearly, the NCAA can evolve with the times.
The underlying problem we see today is that universities and athletes alike are terrified of the NCAA and their outdated rules that they choose to enforce. This is exactly why the Florida Legislature put the NCAA on a reasonable timetable with SB 646 and the shot clock is now ticking. My hope is that the NCAA joins the NAIA who is already taking the lead by changing their rules to allow their athletes to freely use their own name, image, and likeness – it’s the right thing to do.”
Ramogi Huma of the NCPA says “Trevor Lawrence’s efforts to help victims of this pandemic are exemplary. This is yet another example of why NCAA rules seeking to monopolize players’ fame must come to an end. Players are people not NCAA property.
The NCAA should have no part in restricting players’ use of their own name, image, and likeness for any purpose, charitable or otherwise.”
Darren Heitner, prominent sports and trademark attorney of Fort Lauderdale continued, “It’s ludicrous that we are even having a discussion about whether NCAA rules prohibit a player from being charitable, but the fact is they have. This is yet another example of why it is so important to end limitations on college athletes’ ability to utilize their names, images and likenesses.”