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NCAA establishes group to examine athletes’ likeness rights

As more and more people cry out for changes in the NCAA, the four-letter organization is taking the first step to modifying the amateurism model.

Today the NCAA announced the creation of the “NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group.” The name is a mouthful. The group’s ultimate goal is to consider if athletes should be able to profit from their likeness.

“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”

That statement makes the NCAA sound open for change…until you get to the next sentence of the press release.

According to the board, the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports.

The move by the NCAA is reactionary. The first loss in court was to Ed O’Bannon. In March a California court ruled in Alston v. NCAA that its scholarship rules were illegal for capping educational benefits. Meanwhile, legislators in Washington and California have created bills that would force state universities to allow players to be compensated for their own image.

The Rice Commission did not directly address the issue. This will be the first time the NCAA directly tackles players profiting from their likeness. The only question is, will this working group meaningfully act on the matter?

Read the NCAA’s release or find more context on the situation here


Everything You Need to Know About Tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery

Tonight, the future of the entire NBA will change at right around 8:30 ET. That is when this year’s NBA Draft lottery kicks off, and we begin to find out what this year’s draft will look like.

Yup, now that players have declared for the draft, this is the next big step in the process, to go along with individual workouts, the NBA Draft Combine (also taking place this week) and of course the draft itself on June on Thursday, June 20th.

So with the NBA Draft Lottery tonight, what do you need to know? Here are a few things:

What is the NBA Draft Lottery?

I find it impossible to believe that anyone reading this article wouldn’t know what the NBA Draft lottery is, but for the one percent of one percent who might not be sure, here goes:

The NBA Draft lottery is a literal lottery (with ping pong balls and everything) which helps the NBA determine the draft order. Every team that didn’t make the playoffs this season (assuming they haven’t traded their pick) is eligible, with the worst teams having the best odds of landing the number one pick.

Only the top three picks are determined by the lottery, and from then on, the draft order is determined based on win-loss record. The worst teams get the highest picks.

Coverage of the draft lottery begins at 8:30 ET, which means that by 9:00 p.m., we will all know who is selecting where. And the fortune of one franchise will change forever (more on that coming).

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KSR Show Thread 5/14: Evan Daniels joins the show

At this time yesterday, all the scuttlebutt pointed Jaden McDaniels to Kentucky. That all changed last night when Even Daniels changed his McDaniels prediction to “unknown.” He’ll join KSR to explain why he changed his prediction and more.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (772) 774-5254.

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Today on KSR: Another state will legalize sports gambling

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Kentucky is falling further and further behind other states in the sports gambling gold rush.

When West Virginia was the first neighbor to act, fine. It’s basically the wild, wild west there anyway. Then Tennessee passed a measure to legalize sports gambling. Last week Indiana joined the fold. If you thought it felt bad to see Hoosiers twist the knife, now Iowa, IOWA has passed sports gambling legislation. They are the 11th state to join the movement. As many as five more could make the move before the end of 2019. Now the golden corn won’t be the state’s most valuable good.

As the Commonwealth sits idly by and lets valuable tax-based income flow to neighboring states, there are a few other things happening in the Kentucky sports world.

Cats Add a Quarterback

Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting momentum carried over into the current class. Following Gunnar Hoak’s departure, Mark Stoops found quality quarterback depth in the transfer portal. Sawyer Smith leaves Troy for Lexington after helping the Trojans to a 10-win season in 2018.A duel-threat weapon, Smith brings experience invaluable experience to the quarterback room. I did some deep-diving into Smith’s game yesterday and here’s what I found.

What’s going on with Jaden McDaniels?

As Kentucky appeared to be gaining all the momentum, last night Evan Daniels switched his Crystal Ball pick from Kentucky to “unknown.” McDaniels also told the recruiting insider that he has in fact not signed a letter of intent. The once incredibly quiet recruitment has created uncertainty. Jack Pilgrim will try to striaghten out the fact from fiction in today’s insider notes.

Who will win the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes?

A few teams tanked all season long to earn the chance to select Zion Williamson with the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Tonight the Knicks, Cavs and Suns will learn if they’ve earned their reward at the NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago. It airs at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. A look at the odds for each team for each pick:

Some might feel bad for the long-suffering Knicks fans. Not me. Let’s get Devin Booker some help STAT.

Iron Throne Odds

Following the Mad Queen’s bonfire at King’s Landing, Odds Shark has updated their final odds for who will win the Game of Thrones. For some reason, Bran is even money. If that happens, I don’t know what I’ll do. Rioting in the streets is not out of the question.

While you’re at it, listen to the latest episode of Kentucky Thrones Radio. T.J. loved the episode and I hated it, creating the perfect combination to help you find relief following the show’s penultimate episode.

Justin Thomas out at the PGA

This year the PGA Championship has been moved from August to May. The switch will benefit the sport in general, but not Justin Thomas. A wrist injury will prevent the Louisville native from playing at Bethpage Black this weekend. The 2017 PGA Champion, it’s a shame we won’t get to see one of Kentucky’s finest compete for the title.

Whoa

The Kentucky football team has already successfully recruited some of the best athletes in the state. One that’s still uncommitted is North Hardin defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. This guy isn’t just a big body, he’s an incredible athlete. 310 pounds can’t keep him on the ground.

Final UK Baseball Homestand

Tonight the Bat Cats will host the Michigan Wolverines in the final non-conference game of the 2019 season. They’ll take tomorrow off before opening the final series of the season Thursday against Vanderbilt. First pitch at Kentucky Proud Park is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

More KSR

Matt Jones and Drew Franklin are back on the air in one hour. Don’t go anywhere.


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4 Things Sawyer Smith can do for Kentucky’s Offense

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This offseason Mark Stoops tried something new — he searched for a player in the transfer portal. His first excursion was a success.

With the help of two former Troy staff members, Jon Sumrall and Mark Perry, quarterback Sawyer Smith became Kentucky’s first grad transfer of the Stoops era. Smith is the right fit for Kentucky’s offense over the next two seasons.

1. Terry Wilson Runs Free

When Gunnar Hoak announced three weeks ago his intentions to transfer to Ohio State, the UK coaches knew they needed another quarterback. Not to take anything away from Walker Wood, Nik Scalzo and Amani Gilmore, but without Hoak, UK’s offense was one bad Terry Wilson hit away from being completely flipped upside down. To prevent that from happening, Eddie Gran would surely tighten up the playbook to keep Wilson as safe as possible.

With the addition of Smith, Gran does not need to restrict Wilson’s legs. UK’s most explosive playmaker on the ground in his first season, Wilson gained 6.75 yards per carry on 8.2 attempts per game. Now that Wilson has someone behind him with experience, the offense can naturally progress by giving Wilson up to 12 or 13 carries a game.

When Terry Wilson runs the ball, he’s one big play away from a score or one hit away from being sidelined. Sawyer Smith ensures the risk isn’t too great to gamble for the reward.

2. Serenade the Offense

If he isn’t throwing darts, Smith is know for his excellent singing on the sideline (even if he doesn’t know the words).

3. Throw the Deep Ball

The weakest link of UK’s offense over the past two years has been the vertical passing game. The long ball just so happens to be Sawyer Smith’s greatest strength.

Whether he’s in the pocket or on the move, Smith can muscle the ball down the field. In the opening drive of the Dollar General Bowl, he threw a pearl 48 yards in the air that hit his receiver in stride for a touchdown. It was a thing of beauty.

Arm strength aside, Smith’s most important asset is that his game isn’t too different from Terry Wilson’s. If Wilson goes down with an injury, Gran doesn’t have to bring out an entirely new playbook. Smith uses his legs well enough to escape pass rushers or execute a read option. At Nebraska he turned one simple read into an explosive 57-yard run.

4. Experience, Experience, Experience

What sets Smith apart from any UK quarterback not-named Terry Wilson — or any quarterback entering the 2018 season — is the invaluable experience he received as a redshirt sophomore.

Smith played sparingly, primarily as a rushing option, in each of the first five games of the season before Troy starter Kaleb Barker suffered a torn ACL. Thrust into action, Smith was not perfect, but he showed up when the Trojans needed him most.

His best game of the year was at the Dollar General Bowl. Seeking a tenth win, Smith rose to the occasion, completing 70.5% of his 44 passes for 320 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

That kind of experience you can’t teach. You can try to simulate a third and seven from the 46-yard line with a four-point lead in a bowl game, but the blitz does not feel as real in practice. In that situation Smith looked off the single safety and remained calm in the pocket before dropping an absolute dime for a touchdown.

Sawyer Smith’s addition gives UK’s quarterback room a pair of 10-win signal callers. If Terry Wilson cannot complete his duties, Smith is perfectly prepared to keep the offense on course.