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Jai Lucas feels NIL rule changes can be game-changer for UK: “We understand how big a platform and brand we have”

The NCAA’s Division I Council is set to meet on June 22-23 to discuss name, image and likeness proposals regarding student-athletes, with July 1 seen as a possible effective date to align with the seven states that have already passed legislation on their own NIL rules going into the 2021-22 athletic year. The specifics remain unclear, but the push for student-athletes being able to profit off themselves is stronger than ever.

If and when these rules are passed, John Calipari believes the Kentucky program will be able to benefit the most of anyone in college basketball, and the numbers are there to back that up.

“Obviously, we have to wait to see exactly what the rules state,” Calipari said back in May. “But no one should be able to do it better for men’s basketball than our program. 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. So, all the social media stuff and all the stuff we do, and we can do, in my mind it should be the best in the country.”

UK assistant coach Jai Lucas says the program is preparing for the inevitable, a change he wholeheartedly supports. If the NCAA ultimately decides to pass the NIL rules, as expected, Lucas is prepared to put his players in the best position to not only make money, but do it the right way.

“It’s going to change everything. It’s a new thing, something you’ve never had to deal with, giving players the ability to make money off of their name, image and likeness,” Lucas told KSR. “We can’t have a lot to do with it. The biggest thing as a staff is that we’ll have to be sure everyone is equipped with the rules of what we can and can’t do, what they need to do to be able to do things, stuff like that.

“Giving them the ability to do it with the rule most likely passing is great for them, it’s something they can do on their own. It’s not tied to the university, not tied to anything, so if they’re able to do it, they should do it. For us, it’s about making sure they do it the right way and not doing anything that will get them in trouble.”

Like Calipari, Lucas understands that Kentucky will be a prime landing spot for student-athletes looking for a school to boost their brand and capitalize the most off name, image and likeness rules. The program isn’t using that as part of its recruiting pitch quite yet since the NCAA has not officially passed the legislation, but they’re certainly prepared if and when that day comes, likely sooner rather than later.

“We haven’t used it yet and it’s something we’re really not talking about until the rule passes, but a lot of people are talking about it because it seems inevitable,” Lucas told KSR. “For us at Kentucky, we understand how big a platform and how big of a brand we have, especially in college basketball. So for someone who really wants the opportunity to enhance their brand on the biggest market, we feel that’s what we are and what we have to offer.

“We really don’t know what that means yet because we haven’t been through a year of it yet and don’t know what it looks like, but we feel like with what we have and how many times we’re on TV and stuff like that, it’s something we should really be able to use.”

Change is coming in the world of collegiate athletics, and Kentucky basketball is prepared to capitalize on the opportunity.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

6 Comments for Jai Lucas feels NIL rule changes can be game-changer for UK: “We understand how big a platform and brand we have”



  1. Biggie71
    2:27 pm June 5, 2021 Permalink

    I honestly wasn’t sure about NIL at first but now that more details are available this might help us recruit against the professional route some of the top players are choosing. With BBN these kids will likely be able make damn near as much money and will have 100x more exposure to a National audience. I’m sure Cal will set up a staff that will make sure the rules are followed.



  2. Megan
    7:32 pm June 5, 2021 Permalink

    About these 7 states that have legislated their own NIL rules: Can each state do something different so that theoretically we could have 50 different rules? When did state legislatures start passing rules and regulations for college sports? Is each of these states hoping to usurp the NCAA, or gain a competitive advantage over other states by tilting the economic playing field in its direction? (Ah, that sounds right).

    I see a jurisdictional problem that the courts will have to settle. The NCAA is a member-led organization charged with administering college sports. Its website says this: “WHO MAKES THE RULES? Member representatives serve on committees that propose rules and policies surrounding college sports. Members ultimately decide which rules to adopt – everything from recruiting and compliance to academics and championships – and implement them on campus.”

    Individual states can’t unilaterally adopt these kinds of rules or policies. There’s already a process in place for making such decisions, a process that treats every member school equally: They vote. These seven states are trying to circumvent that process, which is an extraordinary power play that can’t possibly work in an orderly fashion.



    • makeitstop
      8:06 am June 6, 2021 Permalink

      The states have forced the issue, but a patchwork of rules would be a disaster. It either has to be Congress preempting the field or the NCAA working a deal w/ the states to conform their rules to the NCAA’s revised rules. The states can pass their own laws, allowing NIL royalties and the NCAA is powerless to stop that. The NCAA would be like the homeowners association trying to enforce a restrictive covenant… yea everyone agreed to it in their deed, but it’s legal unenforceable in Court. So the NCAA could rule an athlete ineligible and say the team using him has to forfeit wins but the state could enjoin enforcement against the program. Schools would be warned by the NCAA if u play school X in State Y ur win won’t count, and u face discipline… but the more they tried to enforce, the more states would pass the legislation, and the greater risk Congress steps in to preempt. The NCAA will be about as effective as the League of Nations if it doesn’t move to get in front of this, bc the consensus – rightly or wrongly – has shifted to support NIL rules. Personally, I think the NIL rules are like lawyer advertising: you won’t like the aftermath but there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube. Coaching an 18 year old prima-donna was hard when he wanted to get points to boost his draft stock… try doing it when the budding entrepreneurs want to boost their shoe brand or album. But, when the rules change, being an early adapter and being nimble enough to change quickly and cleverly will create winners and losers… like deregulation.



  3. zoupman
    9:57 am June 6, 2021 Permalink

    Whatever happens, I certain the NCAA will screw it up and enforce unevenly.



    • makeitstop
      11:31 am June 6, 2021 Permalink

      The best predictor of future performance is past performance.



  4. CATS-R-Gr8
    2:09 pm June 6, 2021 Permalink

    Lexington should prepare for every commercial on local TV to feature the upcoming Rosters!