New law will be benefit for UK athletes, Calipari says

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2021

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John Calipari is confident future student-athletes at the University of Kentucky will benefit from name, image, and likeness laws and legislation.

“Obviously, we have to wait to see exactly what the rules state — but no one should be able to do it better for men’s basketball than our program,” Calipari said.

Seven states have enacted legislation and other measures that will give student-athletes the opportunity to receive compensation from their name, image, and likeness, giving players the chance to receive monetary benefits from sponsorship deals, online endorsements, and personal appearances.

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“Player welfare is going to be a big part of it, which includes name, image, and likeness,” Calipari said. “It includes branding and other stuff that we have done.”

Five states within the Southeastern Conference — Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi — will have laws that will allow athletes from receiving compensation from a third party for their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA likely will keep laws intact that prevent players from pay-for-play and paying recruits.

In states that have NIL regulations, student-athletes will not be penalized for making a profit from their name, image, and likeness. Schools will likely be required by the NCAA to post a written policy regarding NIL and prohibiting payments from booster club members in exchange for athletic or attendance at a member institution.

Calipari added the Wildcats won’t be competing against the NBA and its “G” League on the recruiting trail once laws and legislation are enacted.

“I don’t really think we’re competing,” the Kentucky coach said. “If a kid has an interest in that, he’s not coming to Kentucky. That’s just my opinion. If they look at this and see the overall picture, we call it the Kentucky Effect.”

Calipari added that Kentucky’s main draw will continue to be national exposure.

“Two years ago, TV-wise, our ratings before the pandemic would have ranked fourth in the NBA – Golden State, the Lakers, Cleveland with LeBron (James) – would have been above our ratings,” he said. “So, all the social media stuff and all the stuff we do, and we can do, my mind it should be the best in the country.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or Twitter @keithtaylor21.