FRANKFORT, Ky. — Joined by state lawmakers, university leaders, coaches and student-athletes, Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation today that allows student-athletes in Kentucky to receive fair compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness.
In June of last year, after consulting with lawmakers and universities, Gov. Beshear was the first governor to sign an executive order immediately allowing students to receive such compensation after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA and its rules limiting educational benefits for college players as part of their scholarships. Senate Bill 6 codifies the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-418 in state law.
Many university leaders, athletic coaches and student-athletes applauded Gov. Beshear’s action.
“Our state legislature passed the NIL bill as a bipartisan bill in our state, and it was nearly unanimous, which shows just how important this is for our student-athletes and our universities,” University of Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari said. “I think people are going to read this bill from around the country and use it as model legislation the same way they did our executive order. This is exactly what we needed, and I am so proud of our state and appreciative of our legislature, the governor and all of our leaders.”
“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has shown again today that it will be a torchbearer in the name, image and likeness era, continuing the student-athlete-first mindset that our program has been built on for years,” said Kyra Elzy, University of Kentucky women’s basketball head coach. “I want to thank our state legislature, the governor and the administration at UK for working together to make student-athletes a priority in the state of Kentucky. Today’s signing will have a historic impact on young women in this state today and for years to come.”
“This is an exciting day for college athletics in the state of Kentucky. The University of Louisville owes a huge thank you to our legislators for passing, and our governor for signing into law, a bill that makes the state of Kentucky better,” said Josh Heird, University of Louisville Interim Director of Athletics. “This law will enable every university in this state to compete at the highest level when it comes to attracting and retaining student-athletes. The ability for our student-athletes to generate revenue from their name, image and likeness has been long overdue and UofL looks forward to helping our student-athletes maximize those opportunities.”
“Dealing with name-image-likeness issues is an ongoing process for our student-athletes and our schools,” University of Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops said. “This legislation will help our student-athletes continue to maximize opportunities while giving our schools more flexibility in supporting and protecting our young people. We are appreciative of Gov. Beshear and the legislature for their work on this.”
“I’m grateful to Gov. Beshear for his hard work in getting this legislation passed. Name, image and likeness have changed the landscape of collegiate athletics in the last year and our student-athletes have benefitted tremendously from all the opportunities,” University of Louisville head football coach Scott Satterfield said. “I’m thankful to the leadership in the commonwealth for understanding the importance of NIL and how greatly it impacts the well-being of our student-athletes and also allows us to compete on the same level with the rest of the schools across the country.”
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in a significant case that challenged the association’s ability to have national limits on benefits for athletes that are related to education, but more broadly the case has raised questions about the NCAA’s ability to limit benefits at all.
The NCAA Board of Governors has preliminarily approved changes to their eligibility rules that would allow such compensation, and the U.S. Congress has held hearings on creating a national standard for compensation. However, until that happens, Kentucky colleges and universities would have faced a competitive disadvantage without the Governor’s executive order and Senate Bill 6.
Kentucky colleges and universities have been directed to provide education and other resources to assist students with financial literacy, time management and social media and brand management. Additionally, colleges and universities will retain the flexibility to reasonably limit the time, dates and associations from which the student-athlete may earn compensation.
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