Ky. lawmakers, athletic leaders discuss proposed name, image, likeness bill

Kentucky lawmakers are discussing a proposed name, image and likeness bill.
Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers are discussing a proposed name, image and likeness bill. Athletic leaders from three Kentucky universities all gave their input on how it would work on Monday.

Right now, the NCAA’s rules on NIL are allowed in Kentucky under an executive order. Proposed legislation will go before the General Assembly in February.

When it comes to the drafted NIL legislation, officials with UK and UofL said they had three main goals.

“I think it is helpful for the General Assembly to confirm that number one, students can earn these things. Number two, that we can impose reasonable conditions,” Bill Thro with the University of Kentucky said. “There will be some debate over what reasonable conditions are. And that may someday be a matter for the court. Number three, that we insulate and protect the universities as we already do against lawsuits through a form of immunity.”

Student athletes across the state are already earning money, but the current rules are under an executive order.

“It requires the compensation be equal to market value. And it carves out some common sense definitions, eliminates scholarships from the definition of compensation,” said Angela Curry, general counsel and vice president for legal affairs at the University of Louisville.

It also limits what those athletes can be associated with.

“Anything related to alcohol, tobacco, sex related, gambling, advertisements, some of those things it was pretty low hanging fruit, we were able to pretty quickly gather consensus as a group,” Curry said.

UK’s executive associate athletics director Rachel Baker said their athletes have already entered into almost 500 transactions since the rules went into effect this summer.

“And I’m very pleased to report that football and men’s basketball are the first and second most transactions at Kentucky, but coming in third is our national champion volleyball team, with those young ladies, those student athletes,” Baker said. “Fourth is one that might surprise you, Kentucky, our women’s track team. But that’s because we have an international TikTok star on our women’s track team that has about half a million followers.”

“We’ve already seen things that we never anticipated. And we’ve had to adapt to that. And I suspect in the months to come we will continue to see things that we hadn’t thought about,” Thro said.

Those officials said making sure student athletes receive training in business practices would also be an important part of moving forward with NIL.

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