With the Name, Image, Likeness floodgates opening this summer, Barstool Sports has become a popular partner for many college athletes. Yesterday, the University of Louisville told its athletes to cease deals with the media company, citing the school’s policies and criteria outlined in Governor Beshear’s executive order.
“We are advising all student-athletes to cease involvement with ‘Barstool Sports’ in terms of NIL activity,” Louisville Assistant Athletic Director Alyssa Murphy wrote. “Barstool Sports does not comply with University of Louisville policies and it does not comply with the criteria outlined in the Kentucky Governor’s Executive Order.”
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) August 10, 2021
The issue likely stems from Barstool’s partnership with Penn National, a company that owns and operates casinos and hotels nationwide. Penn National has a 36% stake in Barstool, which has its own sportsbook. As we are all well aware, sports gambling — except for horse racing — is still illegal in Kentucky.
When it comes to the University of Kentucky, a handful of athletes have NIL “deals” with Barstool: quarterback Will Levis, tight end Justin Rigg, quarterback Nik Scalzo, linebacker DeAndre Square, and basketball walk-on Brennan Canada. UK’s NIL policy specifically prohibits athletes from promoting and/or endorsing lotteries, casinos, sports wagering facilities, or online equivalents. As far as I can tell, “Barstool Athletes” don’t receive much more than merchandise and being able to say they’re affiliated with the company, so if UK follows Louisville’s lead, they won’t be out much.