Kentucky’s Mark Stoops Contradicts Himself After Calling NIL Collectives ‘Illegal’

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What exactly is legal and illegal in college football these days is a question not many people seem to know the answer to, and that includes actual head coaches.

There is no denying that there is a massive gray area when it comes to paying college athletes based on their name, image, and likeness. When it comes to college football recruiting, that gray area seems to be getting bigger each and every day.

Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops recognizes that and has tread very carefully when discussing NIL. He continued being wary about NIL during a recent appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio but contradicted himself in the process.

After paying players based around their NIL became legal, most schools around the country formed collectives. A collective is a group, formed legally under state law, of supporters who give and generate funding for student-athletes to be paid on their name, image, and likeness.

In other words, it’s the above-the-table way to pay college athletes. Nevertheless, Stoops doesn’t like the phrase ‘collective’ because he believes they’re “illegal.”

“We don’t call it a collective, because the University of Kentucky, we believe that word is illegal, to pay players to come there right out of high school,” Stoops said. “I’ve always had a belief that players are going to earn it here. I’ve said that from the beginning.”

Mark Stoops Needs “Marketing Deals,” Not Collective Money

Stoops thinking, and saying aloud, that he thinks collectives are illegal is fine, to each their own, but then he proceeded to call on boosters to “step up.” Instead of calling for money to be added to Kentucky’s collective, he’s just calling those dollars “future marketing deals.”

“I’ve kind of poked around it and different media sessions and things of that nature, but we need people to step up. They need to understand — this is the second time I’ve gone on record saying this — it is legal for them to step up and pay some of the people in town here. Or I should say, pay out an expense from their business.

“You can set aside future marketing deals to a fund, to a ledger to people to put that aside and use that in the future for marketing.”

At the end of the day, what Stoops said is just a battle of semantics.

Some schools are operating above board, while others are still working in the shadows. It’s the ones working the gray area as best they can that seem to be taking the biggest leaps forward, but Stoops doesn’t seem willing to jump in, or at least he doesn’t want to talk about it publicly.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter: @itismarkharris

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Written by Mark Harris

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