FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) — College student-athletes in Kentucky can now be compensated for their talents and hard work.
In a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law Senate Bill 6, or the Name, Image, Likeness Bill. The legislation allows student-athletes to make money from revenue generated by their name, image and likeness.
“Your image and your name are yours, given to you by God and your parents, and today we recognize each and every one of those individuals,” Gov. Beshear said.
Gov. Beshear said student-athletes have a right to be paid in the multibillion-dollar industry. Athletes generate money for schools and communities, win games and championships, bring thousands fans, provide community to schools, and drive state pride.
Gov. Beshear was joined in the conference by Senators Morgan McGarvey (D) and Max Wise (R), University of Kentucky (UK) basketball player Rhyne Howard, UK men’s basketball coach John Calipari and other college sports officials.
Sen. Wise (R) said athletes’ schedules are often too busy for a job. The new law ensures athletes can be on stable financial footing while attending school and playing sports.
“It will provide a framework for life skills, for financial literacy, for helping those student-athletes,” Sen. Wise said. “I think it’ll also be beneficial for those student-athletes who may be teetering on making that decision whether to make a jump or stay put, that it can help compensate. … It can help those student-athletes achieve their dreams and still be on a track to obtain a college degree while here within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
SB 6 builds on an executive order signed by Gov. Beshear in June 2021. Gov. Beshear was the first governor in the nation who took immediate action to compensate student-athletes.
Since then, all sides of the table — lawmakers, athletic program leaders and athletes themselves — advocated for SB 6.
“You had universities who might compete against each other on the court coming together to say ‘How do we get the best law to protect our kids?'” Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D) said in the conference. “You had the Governor reaching across to the Legislative Branch. This was a team effort, and never once did someone say ‘Who’s going to get the credit?'”
Rhyne Howard, Southeastern Conference 2022 Player of the Year, thanked everyone involved with SB 6 and gave closing words.
“On behalf of all student-athletes, we are very thankful for being able to be compensated for all the work we do,” Howard said. “With that being said, we are one team and one Kentucky. You know, go Cats!”