Kentucky may follow California’s lead in allowing college athletes to earn money off the field

Kentucky may follow California’s lead in allowing college athletes to earn money off the field
Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, wants to make it legal for college athletes to make money off their name and likeness by signing endorsement deals and taking advantage of other potentially lucrative opportunities. (Source: WAVE 3 News file photo)
Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, is proposing a law similar to one just approved in California that allows amateur athletes to make money off the field.
Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, is proposing a law similar to one just approved in California that allows amateur athletes to make money off the field. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, wants to make it legal for college athletes to make money off their name and likeness by signing endorsement deals and taking advantage of other potentially lucrative opportunities.

McGarvey is proposing a law similar to one just approved in California that allows amateur athletes to make money off the field.

“We’re not looking to damage college athletics; we’re not looking to hurt college athletics; we’re not looking to hurt the amateur aspect of that game,” McGarvey said. “But we’re all wanting to make sure that these players are being treated fairly and equitably for what they do.”

McGarvey emphasized that student-athletes would not be paid to play.

“This is a fairness and an equity issue for student-athletes who are putting so much of their time and their talent and risk to their bodies on the field,” McGarvey said. “It’s allowing them some stake in what they do.”

The new California law was signed Monday but does not go into effect until 2023.

On Monday, UK basketball coach John Calapari was unprepared to comment at UK’s media day.

“I don’t really have an opinion yet,” Calipari said. “I’ve got to digest what they’re really trying to do.”

UoL football coach Scott Satterfield also had questions.

“You know marijuana’s legal in several states, but it’s still illegal as far as the NCAA goes,” Satterfield said. “So, is it going to be legal or illegal NCAA-wise? I think that’s probably going to be the biggest question.”

The NCAA released a statement in response to California’s law describing how it would disrupt work being done internally by the organization on rules governing compensation for student athletes. The statement also warned of problems if other states followed California’s lead.

“As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide,” the NCAA statement said.

Former UofL basketball forward Perrin Johnson said the laws should have been changed years ago, but he also has questions about how athletes could earn money without producing inequities among athletes and sports.

“Basketball’s (players are) going to get paid in Kentucky, we know that,” he said. “Football’s (players are) going to get paid in Kentucky, we know that. But what about the other people? Where’s their equality at, and their equal pay?”

McGarvey said his proposed legislation is a work in progress, and still in its early stages.

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