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NCAA’s attempts to control NIL a little too late, as usual

Kentucky's Will Levis “feels like a quarterback who can eventually be the No. 1 overall pick,” according to one NFL Draft analyst.

Kentucky’s Will Levis “feels like a quarterback who can eventually be the No. 1 overall pick,” according to one NFL Draft analyst.

Random notes:

As usual, the NCAA is a little late. With big money being thrown at student-athletes, transfers and prospects, the suits in Indianapolis decided maybe this whole name, image and likeness thing was getting out of control. Monday, it issued what it called “reasonable guidelines” for NIL. It said the rules were “retroactive.”

It’s hard to put the genie back in the bottle, however. How can the NCAA punish schools for breaking rules that at the time didn’t exist? If boosters are paying student-athletes to come to a particular school, tied in with NIL, how can the NCAA legally put a stop to that?

“The moment they come to try to interfere with one of my clients’ deals — the next day is the moment they get hit with an antitrust lawsuit,” attorney/agent Mike Caspino told The Athletic. “They’re saying there’s a whole class of people (boosters) who can’t participate in the market for athletes’ NIL rights. That’d be like saying red-haired people can’t buy meat. That’s antitrust.”

“Restrictions on athlete compensation just won’t work, nor will they stand,” tweeted ESPN’s Jay Bilaswho also happens to be an attorney.

It’s hard to feel sorry for the NCAA or the schools when it kicked the can down the road regarding NIL. Instead of clinging tightly to its outdated amateur athletic model, it could have positioned itself ahead of the curve. But as a body, that’s not its style.

At the Concordia Summit in Lexington last month, UK football coach Mark Stoops said he would like to see federal legislation that would bring uniformity to NIL rules. Stoops said he just wants a clear set out of rules that everyone can go by. That’s fair.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff were lobbying in Washington last week. Don’t look for anything anytime soon, however. Congress may have more important issues on its plate.

Wichita State Athletic Director Darron Boatright was shown the door last week reportedly because he was dragging his feet on NIL deals for the school.

From the Wichita Eagle, “Because schools are not allowed to facilitate NIL deals for its own student-athletes, Boatright couldn’t single-handedly form an NIL collective. But coaches and other NIL collectives have told The Eagle that it should have been the role of an athletic director to make sure the donor base was aware of the changes and the importance of NIL.”

On the radio show “Sports Talk with Dan Issel and Mike Pratt” in Louisville last week, John Calipari said UK needs to improve its basketball facilities. A friend of mine responded that he can’t wait too see Saint Peter’s facilities. “They must really be something.”

Something that is literally useless: Way-too-early Top 25 rankings for college basketball next season. Especially with the transfer portal. Fun, but useless.

After spending 2021 out of the majors, Lexington’s own Trevor Gott is back pitching with the Milwaukee Brewers. Through Monday night’s action, the 29-year-old Gott boasted a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances. Last year, Gott pitched for San Francisco’s Class AAA affiliate in Sacramento, posting a 4.10 earned-run average in 43 games.

CBS draft analyst Chris Trapasso has UK quarterback Will Levis going No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s No. 1 overall. He writes, “Levis feels like a quarterback who can eventually be the No. 1 overall pick. He’s big, chiseled, has a rocket for an arm and can scramble. The Texans will probably be in the quarterback market in a big way next offseason.”

In other NCAA news, the Football Oversight Committee formally recommended last month to remove restrictions on staging conference championship games. That probably opens the door for conferences to eliminate divisions. Look for the SEC to do just that when Texas and Oklahoma come on board.

John Clay is a sports columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader. A native of Central Kentucky, he has covered UK football from 1987 until being named sports columnist in 2000. He has covered 20 Final Fours and 37 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.
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