Illinois Joins Coalition of States Allowing Student-Athletes to Receive Compensation While in School

CHAMPAIGNToday, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB 2338, the Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act, into law, making Illinois a national leader in granting student-athletes the ability to sign individual endorsement deals while enrolled at a college or university. The innovative legislation will grant student athletes control over their name, image, likeness, or voice for the first time, undoing the antiquated practice of banning students from earning money despite the hours they commit to their sport.

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“With this law, Illinois will lead the United States in giving student-athletes the opportunity to sign endorsement deals of their own, joining a growing coalition of states leading the fight for innovation in our modern collegiate sports system,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Let me be clear. Illinois is now at the forefront of this movement, yet another reason student-athletes should choose Illinois for college. Beginning July 1st, Illinois collegiate student athletes – no matter the sport and no matter the division – can take control of their destiny when it comes to their own name, image, likeness, and voice.”

The legislation alleviates financial pressure faced by student athletes who too often have to weigh the decision of finishing their degree or joining a professional sporting league to earn a salary. Going forward, any student athlete can enter into a partnership with either community businesses or large corporations and earn compensation.

“I am so proud of the work that went into passing this legislation to ensure student athletes receive the recognition and compensation they deserve,” said Speaker Chris Welch (D-Westchester).“As a former college athlete myself, I understand firsthand how this will benefit our student athletes, who often balance a full schedule of schoolwork with their sport, as well as their families. We’ve watched universities and coaches profit off of the talents of these young adults, and it is time we allow them to earn their fair share too.”

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“As a former collegiate student athlete, this legislation is extremely personal to me, I am proud to see Governor Pritzker sign this bill to ensure student athletes are able to earn income from their likeness, name and image,” said Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago). “This is the kind of tangible change we mean when we talk about equity, especially since many of these students come from underserved communities. This will directly help students and their families, which also makes it easier for them to stay in school and finish their degree.”

“Finally student-athletes will receive some financial benefit for the use of their names, images, and likenesses,” said Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey). “Their schools will no longer receive all the financial benefits. The students deserve compensation from the hard work of being a college athlete and making their schools millions of dollars.”

Higher learning institutions, such as the University of Illinois and DePaul University, are establishing programs to help students take advantage of this new law, further cementing Illinois colleges and universities as a top destination for both in and out of state students.

“This legislation establishes Illinois as a thought-leader in the evolving landscape of collegiate athletics by ushering in one of the most transformative changes to college sports we have seen in generations,” said UIUC Athletics Director Josh Whitman. “The new NIL paradigm in our state will allow great freedoms to our student-athletes while upholding the core tenets and educational mission of our universities and our athletic programs. Our thanks to Governor Pritzker and our state’s lawmakers for their innovation, open-mindedness, and leadership in this exciting new area.”

“On behalf of DePaul University, I want to thank Governor Pritzker and members of the Illinois General Assembly for their leadership on SB 2338,” said DePaul University Director of Athletics DeWayne Peevy. “This landmark piece of state legislation paves the way for the modernization of the collegiate athletics model, while ensuring our student-athletes remain at the center of these efforts. It also further guarantees Illinois colleges and universities are at the forefront of an increasingly competitive college athletics landscape. Today is a historic day for student-athletes across the state of Illinois.”

SB 2338 takes effective on July 1, 2021.

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