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Louisville to Athletes: No NIL Deals with Barstool Sports

Paul Steinbach

The University of Louisville athletic department on Monday told its athletes to cease name, image and likeness deals with the media company Barstool Sports, citing the school’s policies and criteria outlined in Kentucky governor Andy 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.”

As reported by Kentucky Sports Radio's Tyler Thompson, 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 percent stake in Barstool, which has its own sports book. As we are all well aware, sports gambling — except for horse racing — is still illegal in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, at the University of Kentucky, quarterback Will Levis, tight end Justin Rigg, quarterback Nik Scalzo, linebacker DeAndre Square and basketball walk-on Brennan Canada have agreements with Barstool Sports, according to KSR's Thompson. "UK’s NIL policy specifically prohibits athletes from promoting and/or endorsing lotteries, casinos, sports wagering facilities, or online equivalents," Thompson writes. "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."

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