A new law on paying college athletes has passed in Florida ©Getty Images

A new law has passed in Florida which will allow college athletes to make money from endorsements for the first time.

Athletes will be able to seek payment for their names, image and likeness from July 1 next year following the landmark legislation.

College athletes are currently not allowed to make money in the United States despite sports such as basketball and American football bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is argued that student sport should remain strictly amateur, although moves are now underway to alter the status quo.

Similar laws have been passed in California and Colorado but these will not come into force until 2023, meaning Florida will be first.

The latest ruling puts pressure on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which said in April it supported a proposal to allow athletes to be paid with some restrictions.

It hopes Congress will create a federal law which will supersede state laws and mean a "patchwork" of different rules across the US is avoided, according to ESPN.

There are fears that a system of different rules in different states would lead to athletes selecting which college they go to based on where they can make the most money.

With Florida's law now official, Congress only has until July 2021 to overrule state law at a time when things are moving more slowly because of the coronavrius crisis.

To this end, Senator Marco Rubio has introduced new legislation which would preempt state law but also force the NCAA to establish a new set-up no later than June 30 2021.

College athletes have previously been told that they must remain amateur  ©Getty Images
College athletes have previously been told that they must remain amateur ©Getty Images

The NCAA is due to vote on its plans in January but there is no guarantee that anything will be accepted, ESPN said.

"This whole issue of student-athletes and being able to receive compensations for their likeness or image is something that's been bubbling to the surface in the last couple years," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to a news conference.

"I viewed it as something that was a matter of fairness."

The NCAA said it supported Rubio's bill and added: "The provisions of Senator Rubio's bill are consistent with the many steps our member schools are taking to modernise name, image and likeness opportunities for college athletes.

"To support these efforts, our members also have stressed we need assistance from Congress to set a federal framework for name, image and likeness, and Senator Rubio's bill does just that.

"His bill sets out federal parameters for allowing student-athletes to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness without turning them into employees; preempts legislation at the state level; and importantly protects the Association from ongoing litigation as we move forward with establishing national rules on name, image and likeness. 

"We look forward to working with Senator Rubio and other members of Congress to establish a legislative and legal framework at the federal level to strengthen the student-athlete experience and preserve the mission of college sports."