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Keith Taylor: Name, image and likeness rules are changing game in college sports and not for better

Let the bidding begin.

It appears some college players and their agents – yes, agents – are beginning to treat the transfer portal and the name, image, and likeness rules more like free agency than an opportunity to receive fair compensation for their talents while attending college to obtain a degree.

Reportedly, South Dakota State standout Baylor Scheierman had a cover letter of NIL demands attached to his resume and Kentucky eased off recruitment. Scheierman eventually committed to Creighton. It should be of interest that Kansas State transfer Nigel Pack reportedly received an $800,000 NIL package from Miami and is represented by the same agent as Scheierman.

Keith Taylor

If you read between the proverbial lines, Scheierman, one of the top outside shooters in college basketball last season, likely has an NIL deal awaiting before plays his first game for the Blue Jays.

We’re not even a year into the NIL era and recruiting stories such as the one featuring Scheierman and Pack are starting to surface. It’s no surprise that transfers want NIL deals to be part of their decision-making process so they can receive a compensation package.

Never mind a free college education and a degree that are still meaningful amid the many changes that are taking shape along the college landscape.

Despite the changes, some schools, such as Kentucky, aren’t jumping on the pay-for-play bandwagon disguised as NIL before transfers even enroll on campus. When it comes to recruiting, the program sells itself without adding money to the mix.

“Our basketball program has and continues to be ahead of everyone else,” Kentucky Director of Player Development TJ Beisner said. “I know. I have these conversations with recruits and other schools. We just don’t flaunt it on social media because we don’t need to. It’s Kentucky, the biggest stage for everything.”

Because of its rich history and status as one of the bluebloods of college basketball, a claim that only schools such as North Carolina, Kansas, Duke and a handful of others can boast, the name on the jersey has enticed student-athletes to play for the Wildcats for decades.

It has always been that way for state and national recruits. Playing for Kentucky has plenty to offer without adding NIL deals to the mix.

Kentucky, Beisner said, “will not guarantee money as an inducement to anyone, ever, period.”

“We don’t need to,” he said. “We haven’t missed out on anyone because of that.”

Beisner’s boss, Kentucky coach John Calipari, an outspoken proponent of NIL, said UK players are “making more money than anyone the right way.”

“NIL won’t hurt us and hasn’t for any kid we’ve really wanted,” Calipari said. “If NCAA or federal government make changes, we’ll adapt and continue to lead.”

To prevent a culture of possible non-regulation, the NCAA needs to step in and impose rules and regulations regarding NIL deals and transfer portal problems before things spiral out of control.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today

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