College athletes in Illinois can profit from endorsements and hire agents under a plan signed into law Tuesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
The newly-inked law comes as roughly two dozen other states have adopted or considered similar plans allowing student athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses.
“This bill is about equity. It’s about parity. It’s about autonomy. It’s about fair market,” Rep. Kambium Buckner, a former college football player, said during the signing at the University of Illinois. “What we are signaling here is that we cannot continue to economically suppress these young people while they infuse tremendous amounts of money into our economies.”
The Chicago Democrat, who was a bill sponsor, said it’s “not just a win for the star quarterback or star point guard” but chance for all student athletes to benefit, including a tennis player being paid for teaching lessons.
The law, which takes effect July 1, applies to public and private schools.
The NCAA has indicated it’ll support allowing student athletes to be paid, but has lagged in changing its longtime rules barring athletes from receiving compensation for playing sports. The organization has said its rules were necessary to prevent the blurring of lines between professional and college sports. Earlier this month the U.S. Supreme CourtÂ ruledÂ the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits for student athletes, setting the stage for future challenges to compensation rules.
The Illinois plan had bipartisan support, though some opponents wanted more student protections. Proponents included schools who call it a recruiting tool and students who say it means more freedom.
Illinois center Eva Rubin said she would be able to expand her advocacy as a type 1 diabetic.
“I can only imagine the opportunities that I’ll be able to create for myself and build for myself and ways that will help me give back to my community,” she said at the event.