uspw 3560091.0SPRINGFIELD – As an ex-college player and advocate for student-athletes, State Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey) is nearing victory in his fight to allow Illinois student-athletes to receive compensation from their use names, images, or likenesses who attend Illinois colleges and universities.  

"These student athletes shed their blood, sweat, and tears to play college sports,” Harris said. “Their schools’ benefit off their talent by selling clothing, rights to use their images in video games and more. The kids deserve to get financial benefit, too especially at powerhouse universities who generate millions of dollars." 

The NCCA came out in support of paying college athletes but still has not provided guidelines on compensation for participating in sports other than through scholarships.

Senate Bill 2338 allows student-athletes to earn compensation for use of their names, images, or likenesses – not their athletic ability. This legislation would be preempted if the federal government or the NCAA enacts its own regulations. 

This legislation would prohibit student-athletes from benefiting from their athletic abilities, participating in intercollegiate athletics or sports competitions, attending a specific educational institution, or entering into a publicity rights agreement. 

The legislation would also help Illinois stay competitive with other states, like California. In 2019, California's governor signed a similar law, making that state more appealing to student-athletes.

"This legislation is not just about money. It's about right and wrong, and we need to protect the rights of every student-athlete in Illinois, Harris said. "Student-athletes deserve to receive benefits for the use of their images and likenesses." 

Senate Bill 2338 passed the Senate and now heads to governor.