WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart preaches patience with NIL policies

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Over the last few weeks, the sports world has been focused on name, image and likeness policies at the collegiate level. Finally, today, there is a definite answer on what will happen going forward.

On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors officially suspended the organization’s rules prohibiting athletes from selling rights to their name, image and likeness.

This falls into line with the Executive Order that Governor Andy Beshear issued last Thursday, allowing NIL policies to be intact in the state of Kentucky. Western Kentucky University’s Athletic Director, Todd Stewart, says he supports this change going forward.

“I think we all support name, image and likeness (policies), because as college athletics has evolved, and we’ve seen change over the last 10 years, giving our athletes, and everyone’s athletes, the opportunity to capitalize on their name, image and likeness is only fair,” Stewart explains.

The big question with fans of smaller schools, like Western Kentucky, is how Non-Power 5 schools will be able to stack up to massive Power 5 athletic programs, like UK basketball and Alabama football.

Stewart believes there is a way that smaller schools can capitalize in areas larger programs can’t.

“I do think that the fact that everybody now has an opportunity (to capitalize on NIL laws) is a good thing…” Stewart continues, “Obviously if you’re in a large market, there’s more opportunity, but there’s also more competition, whereas in a smaller market, it’s just you.”

At the end of the day, the selling point remains the same for Western Kentucky fans, students and coaches alike. That is, WKU continues to reside as an outstanding sports program that has instilled a wining culture at all levels and student-athletes that decide to become a Hilltopper will continue to benefit not only at the collegiate level, but also in life after college.

“To me, if you come (to Western Kentucky), we have a winning culture. If you come here, you will win. You will win championships and you will be a part of some incredible experiences from a team perspective and an individual perspective,” Stewart explains. “At the same time, you will get a degree, a meaningful degree that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”