McConnell weighs in on name, image, likeness legislation

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jun 29, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Beginning this Thursday, college athletes in Kentucky can profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Several other states are doing the same thing and several more are hoping to join the pack as well. But as of right now, there is no across-the-board guidance to help any of them.

"The NCAA didn’t do anything. Washington didn’t do anything. And now the states are doing something," said Senator Morgan McGarvey during a press conference on NIL legislation on Monday.

However, that may not be the case for long.

"I think federal legislation probably is necessary," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday during a visit to Lexington.

McConnell said states are requesting help from Congress on this matter.

"They're coming to us at the federal level for some kind of national standard," said McConnell.

However, McConnell said before Congress can move forward on a federal bill, the NCAA must chime in.

"What we need from the NCAA is: what do you think is the best approach? In other words, we don’t have the expertise to fix this," said McConnell. "We need to get advice about what will fix it."

However, McConnell said regardless of what they do, he hopes the legislation will not hurt Title IX or non-revenue sports.

"Football and basketball provide all the revenue for the non-revenue sports - which is true of every one of the women's sports, except maybe women's basketball, and the men who are participating in sports that do not generate any revenue," said McConnell. "I don't want to see us, at the end of the day, with fewer women able to participate in sports because universities have to drop teams, and fewer men who are in non-revenue sporting activities no longer having an opportunity for scholarship and a chance to participate."

McConnell says the NCAA must come up with a plan that allows name, image, and likeness compensation while preserving the non-revenue sports.