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Kentucky Acts On NIL

A bold move but also inevitable

Florida v Kentucky
Will NIL be a slam dunk for the Kentucky Wildcats and governor Andy Beshear?
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

With the NCAA tied up in its usual torpor and NIL laws about to go into effect in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas, Kentucky governor Andy Beshear bypassed legislation and just decreed NIL would happen in the Commonwealth in order to keep Kentucky programs on an even footing.

And by Kentucky programs you can read Kentucky basketball, followed, somewhat distantly, by Kentucky football and Louisville basketball.

It’s smart politics because in Kentucky, you'd better not get on the wrong side of Wildcats basketball. It’s just a guarantee of getting voted out.

The other schools are lagniappe politically.

Louisville’s Vince Tyra said that “[b]ringing the state of Kentucky into competitive balance with other states across the country and, more specifically, the Atlantic Coast Conference is critical.”

As far as the ACC goes, now Florida State and Louisville will have NIL options that the other schools still lack.

But not for long!

The SEC states that haven't acted include South Carolina and with Clemson and South Carolina both solid football schools, at least aspirationally in South Carolina’s case, it’ll probably happen there soon, and in Tennessee, Arkansas and whoever we’re forgetting as well (Missouri and Louisiana?).

ACC pressures will build too. Right now, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Louisville can do things the rest can’t. People might tolerate it for a bit from Florida State and Georgia Tech but everyone is pretty fed up with Louisville right now and giving them a major break after so many major scandals in recent years won’t go over well.

We expect that South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia will also act in some way. We’re not as familiar with the situation in New York, Massachusetts and Indiana, but we’ll know soon.

It’s going to be very hard for a state which is home to Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame to not also act.

For Duke basketball you can reasonably argue that NIL is simply a matter of delayed gratification because when you get drafted you’ll make it up on the other end and if you’re not good enough for professional basketball or football, your degree will be pretty lucrative too.

But that may not appeal to many 18-year-olds when their friends are making a lot of money right out of the gate.