CHAMPAIGN – Governor J.B. Pritzker was in Champaign Tuesday to sign a bill allowing Illinois college athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.
Now, NCAA athletes throughout the state of Illinois can sign endorsement deals with businesses and brands.
Speaking at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center, Governor Pritzker said he hopes this bill will keep more student-athletes in Illinois colleges and universities.
“When I sign this bill into 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,” Pritzker said at the signing.
The new law, dubbed the Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act, comes about a week after the Supreme Court ruled the NCAA could not place limits on education-related benefits that schools provide student-athletes.
The governor’s signing solidifies Illinois as the twentieth state in the nation to allow NCAA athletes to profit off of their image.
Representative Kam Buckner, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that it’s time for individual states to step up and make the decision for NCAA athletes.
“We talked about a lack of a national solution which is why many states have decided to do what we can from an individual standpoint, state by state,” Buckner said.
Eva Rubin, a girl’s basketball player at the University of Illinois, said that as a Type 1 diabetic, having the ability to profit from her activism for her disease is important.
Now a senior, Rubin said that if the bill had passed earlier, she could’ve profited off her work throughout college.
“We all have a different niche,” Rubin said. “We all have a passion that we would love to be able to spend more time on and capitalize on.”
University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said he hopes the passage of this bill will allow Illinois to recruit more talent in the future.
Whitman said he wants Illinois to be at the forefront of the changes to college athletics.
“I absolutely think this is a recruiting tool for us,” University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said. “We will continue to innovate to stay one step ahead of where we should be.”
Farrah Anderson is a student journalist for Illinois Newsroom. Follow her on Twitter @farrahsoa.