Louisville to Provide NIL Initiatives, Resources to Student-Athletes

The announcement comes a day after Gov. Beshear signed an executive order to allow student-athletes to monetize their NIL rights.
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(Photo of Vince Tyra: Marty Pearl - Special to Courier Journal)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - On the heels of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signing an executive order regarding name, image and likeness, the University of Louisville announced Friday that they have "enacted multiple educational initiatives and resources" that will help student-athletes make "informed decisions about future Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities".

The Louisville athletic department created an NIL working group comprised of those from the university's Brandeis School of Law and Sport Administration program. Together, they helped create initiatives such as education modules through OpenDorse, life skills programming through the Athletics' Beyond the Buzzer and Cardinal Select programs, and an NIL Advisory Board.

"We are excited for them to move forward," Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra told the media following the announcement. "We've been a proponent, I've been outspoken, and I think it's the right path to go down with guardrails. Those guardrails are being put in place, and we've learned a lot on what that might mean."

Both Tyra and Associate Athletic Director Matt Banker, who is leading the charge on Louisville's NIL initiatives, believe the entire endeavor is a fluid process and nothing is set in stone quite yet. Tyra said that he thinks the biggest learning curve will be from student-athletes disclosing NIL monetization opportunities.

"They certainly don't need to inadvertently cross the line, and do something they shouldn't be doing with an individual and the way they set up their own deals," he said. "Disclosure is going to be key."

On Thursday, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order that would allow student-athletes in the state of Kentucky to "receive fair compensation for the use of their name, image, likeness". The 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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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