Student Athlete Endorsement Bill Passes

By Benjamin Cox on June 3, 2021 at 10:10am

College student athletes may soon benefit from endorsements and royalties off of use of their image.

Efforts over the last few years have been underway to allow student athletes a chance to get an agent and sign endorsement deals. The General Assembly passed a bill on Friday.

State Representative Jonathan Carroll of Northbrook says its the right thing to do: “As we watch things like the NFL Draft, the NBA Draft – we see these guys in their college uniforms and the universities are very proud of the things that they do. Unfortunately, for things like their likeness, they are not compensated for. This [bill] get us closer to actually doing the right thing.”

State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet says the NCAA profits while student athletes don’t off of their own image: “The NCAA makes an amazing amount of money off of what is supposed to be amateur sports. These men and women don’t get compensated. Video game companies use their name, image, and likeness. On the basketball tournament alone, the NCAA a few years ago, and this number is dated now, made over a half a billion dollars and the student-athletes didn’t get one penny.”

Laws allowing student athletes to make endorsement deals in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico are going into effect July 1, with Texas poised to join if its bill receives a signature from Texas governor Greg Abbott. California was the first to pass this kind of law in 2019, though the legislation only goes into effect in 2023.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association governing board has previously shown support for its divisions allowing college athletes to profit from their own name, image, and likeness, but bylaws still prevent athletes from receiving pay to play. In January, NCAA division leaders delayed a vote on allowing student athlete endorsement deals after a letter from the U.S. Justice Department signaled concern about possible conflicts with antitrust law.

The legislation passed the Illinois House 95 to 18 and the Illinois Senate 56 to 2 with overwhelming bipartisan support. It now awaits Governor J.B. Pritzker’s signature.