Kentucky lawmakers wrap up name, image, likeness bill

The bill now goes to Gov. Andy Beshear

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers wrapped up work Monday on legislation endorsed by prominent coaches to regulate name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes in the state.

The measure won 89-2 final passage in the House, which sent the bill to Gov. Andy Beshear.

The bill drew strong support in a state with nationally renowned college sports programs with legions of fans. University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari, in a committee hearing, said the bill offers a “model” approach, providing flexibility to respond to the NIL issue. University of Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz offered his support during another committee hearing.

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.

Republican Rep. Adam Bowling said Monday that the bill “sets the proper framework and guardrails as we begin to navigate the name, image and likeness world.” It protects both student-athletes and universities and “sets our student-athletes up for success,” he said.

In Kentucky, college athletes have been able to make money off their name, image and likeness since last summer, when the governor signed an executive order. His action was seen as a short-term response, resulting in the bill that sailed through the legislature with bipartisan support.

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