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Illinois May Allow College Athletes to Sign Endorsement Deals

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The state of Illinois may join a host of other states in helping collegiate athletes profit from their sports performance after state lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday which will allow student-athletes to hire an agent and sign endorsement deals. 

Several states have proposed similar legislation following support from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regarding college athletes profiting from their names, images, and likenesses, with Illinois among those allowing compensation from athletic participation. 

The proposed legislation sponsored by Representative Kam Buckner has now found its way to Governor Jay Robert “JB” Pritzker, and if he signs the bill into law, athletes from both public and private institutions can start hiring sports agents or signing product endorsement contracts as early as July 1.

However, students will not be allowed to promote alcohol, adult entertainment, tobacco, recreational drugs, sports betting, or other products or services “inconsistent with the values of a postsecondary institution.” 

Similar Bills

The Chicago Tribune reported that California was the first state to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals. However, the change will not take effect until 2023. There are now 15 states that have approved similar measures, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. The rule changes will take effect in these states on July 1.  

The NCAA has also requested Congress pass a law allowing the uniform application of these benefits across the United States. 

“This is an important topic. This is something that has been discussed for a quite a long time to recognize the work that our student-athletes do on behalf of universities in a multibillion dollar business,” Illinois Representative Tim Butler asserted. “They are the stars of the show, and they deserve the recognition.”

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