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Mark Stoops believes NIL collectives are illegal and shares they're playing against players that he knows were paid under the table

Mark Stoops went on KSR today with some significant allegations, and calls NIL collectives as we know them illegal.

Whether you want to call it rallying the fan base, or publicly making a call for boosters, everyone from Ryan Day to Nick Saban, has made a plea for NIL funds to help move their program forward in a constantly evolving market.

Most places have a creative name for their NIL fundraising efforts, but generically the media has been calling all of them "collectives."

Well, Kentucky's Mark Stoops took issue with the word "collective" today while on Kentucky Sports Radio, noting a collective would be 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. I’ve always had a belief that players are going to earn it here. I’ve said that from the beginning. We’re going to earn it, we’re not going to give it away.”

Semantics on what to call the fundraising for NIL efforts aside, Stoops admits that Kentucky's football program is behind where it needs to be when it comes to NIL.

“Blaming nobody, are we where we need to be? No. Simple answer: No.”

Stoops wants boosters and business owners looking to support Kentucky athletics to understand that there is a legal way to go about it now, and encourages them to contribute to a pool that is being marketed as "pre-funded endorsement marketing dollars."

“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.”

They need to understand that it is legal," he goes on to share. "They are allowed to do this. This is the world that we’re in right now.”

“I’m playing against players that I know were given money. That the school and the NCAA know were given money, and we’re still playing against them...under the table, not even above board like it is now. I mean, paying them up on top of the table, you’re allowed to do that now, but I’m talking about under the table.

"So if they can’t police it where you’re giving people money under the table, how in the world are they going to police it when you’re giving it on top of the table?”

Hear more from Stoops in the interview.