Florida Football: Gators can pay players directly, but how to do it is complicated

The House v. NCAA case paves the way for Florida to directly give money to athletes
Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun / USA

Florida Football has been in the headlines this week over its failed NIL deal with Jaden Rashada. At the core of the issue is what role Billy Napier did or didn't have in setting up the NIL contract vs how much of it was negotiated by third parties.

But in a massive court ruling yesterday, universities can be directly involved in the process of paying out players, mitigating awkward situations like the one Florida found itself in.

Florida Football: Show Me The Money

In a move that almost everyone anticipated, the House vs. NCAA court case was settled yesterday. As part of the settlement, the NCAA will pay $2.7 billion over the next ten years to athletes past and present, and going forward, schools can distribute up to $22 million annually to their athletes.

We've chronicled in the past how Florida should be in a much better position than most to handle this new reality in college athletics. By having a seat at the table in the SEC, the Gators have a much better revenue stream coming into their financial coffers than the bulk of the country. According to data from USA Today, Florida's athletic department is one of only 20 departments to claim a profit of at least $10 million in 2023.

But just because the Gators will be able to pay $22 million directly to their athletes starting in 2025, the question of how Florida, or any school, will go about it becomes the complicated part.

The $22 million figure, as of now, isn't exclusively earmarked for football, it can be spent across all sports. At Florida, which prides itself as an everything school, that could lead to some difficult choices. Do you earmark $1 million for softball, track, baseball, gymnastics, etc. if it means you might lose out on some players for football?

Even if you want to dump all $22 million into football, will Title IX allow for that?

Or the fact that on paper, Florida doesn't even have $22 million extra to spend. According to their financial reports from 2023, Florida made a profit of about $14 million. So if they want to max out what they can pay out, where does that money come from?

Could sports like golf, swimming, tennis, and track be on the chopping block all in the name of saving money to maximize profits even though all those sports have brought home national titles?

Streamlining the revenue sources so that Florida doesn't have to depend on the common fan or shady booster to fund Florida Football is good. However, there is no guarantee that there won't be collateral damage along the way.