Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear Signs Executive Order on Name, Image, Likeness

Kentucky becomes the eight state to have NIL legislation take effect starting in July 2021.
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FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky governor Andy Beshear announced Thursday that he had signed an executive order that would allow student-athletes in the state to "receive fair compensation for the use of their name, image, likeness", or more commonly known as NIL.

“Today’s step was done in cooperation with all of our public universities as well as leadership of both parties,” Beshear said. “This action ensures we are not at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting, and also that our student athletes have the same rights and opportunities as those in other states. For any individual athlete, their name, image and likeness are their own and no one else’s.”

The executive order is set to go into effect starting on July 1, which is when the NCAA had originally hoped to have a federal NIL bill passed. While it seems unlikely one will be passed in time for this deadline, NCAA president Mark Emmert is pushing for temporary guidance that will allow all student-athletes to monetize off NIL as of July 1, as a bridge until a federal bill is passed.

To date, Kentucky is the seventh state to have officially passed an NIL law that will take effect on July 1, and the first to be signed via executive order. An eighth will start on July 23, and an additional twelve states have passed NIL legislation that take effect beyond 2021.

“On behalf of our student athletes at the University of Louisville, we are incredibly grateful for Gov. Beshear’s executive order allowing them to earn compensation based on their name, image and likeness,” Louisville AD Vince Tyra said. “Bringing the state of Kentucky into competitive balance with other states across the country and, more specifically, the Atlantic Coast Conference is critical. The collaboration with legislative leadership in Frankfort is welcome and needed in leveling the playing field for our institutions and, more important, for our student athletes.”

Men's basketball head coach Chris Mack, women's basketball head coach Jeff Walz and football head coach Scott Satterfield each applauded Beshear's efforts in the E.O.'s press release. Additionally, swimming & diving head coach Arthur Albiero and women's soccer head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes also voiced their support on social media.

Regarding NIL, Louisville has long been ahead of the curve. Last September, the University partnered with Opendorse to create ELEVATE, a program designed to help student-athletes build their individual brands. ELEVATE provides student-athletes the opportunity to understand their NIL rights and receive hands-on assistance from experts to maximize their value while on campus.

As far as a national NIL model goes, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported Wednesday that the NCAA is expected to abandon their own NIL legislation presented to Congress for a "more permissive, alternative model".

Under that model, schools in states with an NIL law "may follow that law without penalty", and schools located in states without one are "granted permission to each create and administer their own NIL policy, as long as they use guiding principles such as prohibiting NIL ventures designed as pay-for-play or recruiting inducements".

How big of a deal are NIL laws? While Louisville has yet to present their own guidelines regarding it, student-athletes in theory would be able to earn money thanks to a variety of endeavors, such as social media and endorsement deals. For deeper context, Opendorse estimated that Louisville women's basketball guard Hailey Van Lith's NIL rights would be worth nearly $1 million.

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