FRANKFORT – A bill that would establish name, image and likeness guidelines for college student-athletes at Kentucky public and private colleges and universities gained unanimous approval from the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.
University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and basketball coach John Calipari both testified in favor of the bipartisan measure, Senate Bill 6, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville and Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.
College athletes in Kentucky have been able to make money off their name, image and likeness since last summer, when an executive order signed by Gov. Andy Beshear took effect. His action was seen as a short-term response until state or federal lawmakers took action.
Wise said there were several reasons for the bill. “(Number one was) the NCAA not taking action on an issue such as this. It has had to be decided on by the United States Supreme Court, and with that decision, the issue then was faced and acted upon by the states.”
He told the panel the states have had to face two issues: “Number one is for the university, but most importantly, number two, what is best for the student-athlete? What you have before you today is a perfect weave and a thread of finding flexibility and balance with the institution and with the student-athlete.”
Calipari said: “Today, we are met with an opportunity to address this evolving issue, as the needs and demands of my players have changed. I am confident that with your interest, as well as mine, we will share in creating the best opportunities for players, while at the same time allowing men’s basketball at UK to remain the gold standard.”
He thanked the lawmakers for allowing his participation in the process. “I hope my many years of service are helpful today, and I stand ready to continue to assist the committee as you work on these issues.”
The bill passed 10-0 and now heads to the Senate floor.