SPRINGFIELD – Student athletes at Illinois colleges and universities would receive compensation from the use of their name, image, or likeness under a measure sponsored by Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey). Currently, college athletes cannot receive compensation for participating in the sports other than scholarships.

"I played college football for four years, and I remember the many times when my family couldn’t afford things we needed and wanted," Harris said. "However, on game days, the stadiums were packed, and university was making millions of dollars."

Senate Bill 2278 would also prohibit athletic association or conference from preventing a school or a student from participating in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and will not affect the student's scholarship eligibility. Ultimately this measure will ok student-athletes to generate profits for themselves through the use of their names and likenesses, such as in video games.  

The legislation would also help Illinois stay competitive with other states, like California. On September 30, 2019, California's governor a similar law, which may make that state more appealing to student athletes.

"During my time at Northwestern, I saw a lot of my jerseys with my name on them in the stands, and I didn’t make a dime from those jersey sales," Harris said. "This legislation is not just about money, it's about rights. We need to protect the rights of student athletes.”

Harris is also a co-sponsor of House Bill 3904, an identical bill moving in the Illinois House.

Category: Press Releases
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