(The Center Square) – Student athletes at colleges in Illinois could get sponsorship money under a bill advancing at the statehouse in the final days of session.
State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, passed an amendment, 95-18, Saturday to Senate Bill 2338. It must now head to the Senate for concurrence before the end of session May 31.
“It creates the Illinois Student Athletes Endorsement Act,” Buckner said. “Generally, it allows student athletes in Illinois to earn market value competition for the use of their name, image or likeness, or voice, while enrolled in a post secondary education institution.”
The measure also allows them to hire counsel and an agent if they find it necessary.
Buckner, a former University of Illinois football player who got a scholarship to attend the school, said he was the victim of the university selling his likeness for a video game without giving him any compensation. He was part of a successful lawsuit against the school years ago.
In supporting the bill, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, had Buckner lay out what student athletes won’t be able to endorse.
“This would be alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, sports betting, gaming,” Buckner said. “There are about nine things that we ban those folks from being able to endorse.”
State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, said the measure won’t benefit every student athlete, but will for the larger schools with sports stars.
“This is an opportunity for them to benefit from a billions of dollar industry that they help provide around the country and in this state,” Butler said.
The measure will make Illinois a leader on the issue, Buckner said, which could attract players to the state’s universities.