Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday that he would be in favor of student athletes getting endorsement deals. Pritzker said on Chicago’s WGN AM-720 yesterday that he would back current legislation in the General Assembly allowing college athletes in Illinois to make money from endorsements. Pritzker told WGN that student athletes deserve to earn compensation based on the use of their image, name, and likeness.
Hillside Democrat State Representative Chris Welch filed the bill in late May that is similar to a law already on the books in California allowing college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals with sponsors, despite objections from the NCAA. The California law takes effect in 2023, the same time frame in the Illinois legislation. The bill would prohibit colleges and universities from taking away a student athlete’s eligibility if he or she earns compensation from an endorsement deal. It also would prevent student athletes from making money off a contract that conflicts with a team’s endorsement contract. Athletes would have to reveal their endorsement deals to the school under the measure. House Republicans have come out in opposition to the bill saying it commercializes college sports beyond its current limits.