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Buckner Sponsors Bill to Pay College Athletes for Their Likeness

Jun 7, 2021 | Buckner

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – College Athletes in Illinois will be paid for their likeness thanks to a bill sponsored by state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago.

“Every year, college sports generate billions of dollars for schools, networks, and corporate sponsors, yet the student athletes that the fans of these programs are paying to see are not compensated for the use of their likeness in marketing materials,” said Buckner. “Student athletes are generating millions of dollars for others, but have trouble handling essential expenses to live, which is completely unacceptable.”

Buckner is sponsoring Senate Bill 2338, which creates the Illinois Student Athlete Endorsement Rights Act and allows student athletes to earn compensation through the use of their names, images, likenesses, or voices in marketing materials. Athletes will also be able to hire agents.

In 2019, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reported generating over $1.18 billion in revenue, with college football, the most popular sport, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for sports conferences across the country. The University of Illinois-Champaign makes over $34 million annually, but only 1% of college athletes are on full-ride scholarships.

“Many student athletes are using their talents to overcome their circumstances and get their education, and universities are exploiting their athletes by denying them the ability to earn compensation from their own identities,” said Buckner. “As a former Fighting Illini myself, I know how critically important it is to pay these young men and women for their work.”

Senate Bill 2338 was passed out of the General Assembly and is now awaiting to be signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker.

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