FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A bill that would protect the ability for college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness has unanimously passed the Senate Standing Committee on Education.
Last summer, a combination of new state laws and NCAA rule changes made it legal for college athletes to make money off selling their name, image, and likeness. That included Kentucky.
Gov. Beshear was the first governor to allow college athletes to receive compensation for name, image, and likeness when he signed an executive order in June.
Now state lawmakers want to make sure NIL rules are clarified by law.
UK Coach John Calipari and Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart were at the State Capitol Wednesday in support of the legislation.
Barnhart told lawmakers things are going to continue to evolve and change when it comes to making money on social media and this bill allows universities to help student athletes make the right decisions.
Barnhart says the UK Athletics department has had about 800 NIL deals come from over 250 student athletes since the space was created last year.
Going forward, Barnhart says it's hard to say where exactly it all goes, but says the bill gives flexibility and direction.
Here's more from AD Barnhart on the NIL deals that have gone through in the past several months ⬇— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) February 9, 2022
He specifically gives a shoutout to @masai_russell from UK track & field and @will_levis from UK football for how they've made NIL work for them so far https://t.co/AVi4XOf4Ib pic.twitter.com/J4cJMdWrNZ
Coach Calipari tells lawmakers the name, image, and likeness landscape is changing and programs must adapt.
Coach Cal is asked if this NIL bill will help keep some student athletes at UK for longer.— Karolina Buczek (@Karolina_Buczek) February 9, 2022
He says for some top players, they’ll still leave to take advantage of a big opportunity. However, he says an NIL bill could help keep some players.
His response: ⬇️@LEX18News pic.twitter.com/SHmRfQDORe
Senator Wise is sponsoring the NIL bill. He also has support from Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, who spoke at a press conference last summer.
Sen. Max Wise explains why it’s important for KY to pass a NIL bill. Says it’s important to codify student-athletes’ ability to profit off of their name, image, and likeness. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/IW2OWvY31Z— Karolina Buczek (@Karolina_Buczek) February 9, 2022
"I think too often people assume we're talking about the Anthony Davis and John Walls of the world. But this really will impact every sport at every school in Kentucky. We're doing everything we can to make sure we have the best grasp to have legislation that will help everyone," Sen. Morgan McGarvey.
Sen. McGarvey said the bill would put student athletes on the same level as other students. It does not pay students to play their sport.
Several UK athletes have already benefited from NIL, including the men's basketball team.
In November, UK basketball players signed a new NIL deal with FTX US, which is a U.S. regulated Cryptocurrency exchange company. In December, eleven players, along with Calipari. signed an exclusive deal with a company called "Mercury" for NFT digital collectible art.
The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote.