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The Ramifications of Florida’s HB 7501

Change is on the horizon in Florida. Is it bad news for Oregon and the Pac-12?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The news came out on Friday evening that the Florida state Senate and House of Representatives passed HB7501. It is now headed to Governor Ron DeSantis for his signature into law.

As stated in the tweet above, the law would go into effect next year.

How does this affect recruiting in the Southeast?

Well, Florida is one of the “core four” states of recruiting hotbeds that every program recruits. This would allow for the big three (Florida State, Miami, Florida) and its little siblings (UCF, USF, etc) in the state of Florida to keep more talent in state until there is a more concrete ruling from the NCAA. In particular, it would slow down the tsunami of recruits leaving the state to regional and national football powers like Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, and Georgia. It also would help revive the dormant national hegemony of the Florida big three. During the 1980’s and 1990’s into the early 2000’s, each of the three programs basically took turns winning national titles while a few other programs were relevant at best.

How does this affect recruiting in the West?

Simply put, the more that stays in state, the less amount of talent is available for western teams to pluck from Florida. The more that stays in state, the more teams outside of the Pac-12’s sphere of influence will raid California.

How does it affect Oregon and the Pac-12 in general?

This measure, should it be signed into law by Governor DeSantis, would beat California to the punch by two years and the Oregon proposal by three years (seriously, get it together, Oregon GOP). Falling behind two years is a massive bridge to cross. For every year that passes, the gap between the haves and have nots only increases. I believe that every year that there is a gap, it would take programs at least four years to catch back up to peer status. It happens all the time in college sports.

In an era of increasing fiscal dominance exerted by the SEC and Big Ten over its peer conferences, it will be the death knell of competitiveness and national relevance for some western programs like Stanford, Washington State, Colorado (lol Karl Dorrell), or Oregon State (most years). Oregon has six players on the 2020 roster that claim Florida as their hometown state or attended Florida high schools. Players like Jordon Scott or Ge’mon Eaford likely wouldn’t be available or harder to sign out of state.

National “brand” programs like Oregon and USC (when they actually care about football, #HELTON4LIFE) and traditionally decent programs like ASU, Utah, or UCLA (when they aren’t hemorrhaging money like the national debt) can and will survive and thrive if they have good development processes. A good development program will be necessary to offset the inevitable lockdown of Florida if the NCAA doesn’t get it together and pass national measures before federal government intervention (highly unlikely.)

It will be even more stark in non revenue sports like baseball, gymnastics (outside of UCLA), softball, and others.

Final Thoughts

Florida recruiting is already a knockdown, no holds barred, all out war to begin with. If this measure passes, it will become even more difficult for Oregon and other schools to go into that state. In an era of money ever increasingly ruling college sports and splitting “peer” teams into rich and poor, the talent disparity will be huge. Oregon will find it even harder to recruit its home territory of California as teams will look more and more westward as Florida becomes exponentially unavailable. It’s already bad enough when USC can’t even keep their top LA area prospects away from Oregon, much less everyone else. We as a conference have to hope that the NCAA moves swiftly (an oxymoron if there ever was one) to institute nationwide changes or the federal government forcing them to do it.