FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a high-profile name, image and likeness measure into law on Wednesday, saying it recognizes that athletes are the “main attraction” in college sports and deserve to be fairly compensated for their notoriety.
The signing ceremony at Kentucky’s Capitol featured a cross-section of college coaches and administrators — including University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari and University of Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz.
Calipari said the bill protects both athletes and their schools while providing needed flexibility, saying NIL-related issues are “moving fast.”
“I believe it’s model legislation that will be looked at now to say ‘Well, we can do this,’” he said.
Lawmakers in statehouses across the country are wrangling with the high-stakes issue, as millions of dollars pour into endorsements for college athletes.
Kentucky’s measure would set a framework for college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. Governing boards of universities could adopt NIL-related policies for their school’s athletes.
The result will be that college athletes in Kentucky are “fairly compensated for the use of their name, image and likeness,” Beshear said.
“For decades, student-athletes — unlike their peers — were barred from pursuing compensation associated with skills and talents,” the governor said. “And unlike most of their non-athlete peers, student-athletes are the main attraction of what is a multi-billion-dollar industry in this country.”