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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AP) – Illinois lawmakers are considering laws that will allow college athletes to make money from product recommendations.
House agreed between 95 and 18 on Saturday to give student athletes the right to hire agents and market their names and pictures. This has been the unique domain of the NCAA and universities with extensive sports programs for decades.
If approved, the proposal, sponsored by Rep. Kambium Buckner, a Chicago Democrat and former University of Illinois soccer player, would go into effect on July 1, the day a similar plan was in place approved in California goes into effect.
With around 10 states that have passed similar laws that will come into force in the coming years, and 13 others considering them, a race to pass laws could take place, as so-called naming, image and Similarity laws give schools in these states a recruiting advantage, experts say.
The House also approved a measure on Saturday to tighten the process of obtaining the identification that gun owners must have, but took no action on the state budget, with two days left before the scheduled adjournment of the spring session. The Republican legislature held a rally outside the Democratic government office. JB Pritzker asked him to honor an election promise to veto new legislative district maps drawn by politicians after the lines drawn by the Democrats for the next decade were approved on Friday evening.
For more than a century, college athletes have been mythologized as amateurs while working for colleges and universities that make hundreds of millions of dollars to market for ticket sales and merchandise.
Buckner’s action highlights elite athletes who have made national names through their college careers. You can sign contracts to model and promote branded sportswear or other products besides tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, or sports games. But Buckner said the real beneficiaries would be those who don’t have a chance to play professionally, like a star softball player, for example.
“She’s a bit of a fan favorite and a big deal for her college town, and the local car dealer wants her to be featured on posters,” Buckner said. “This could be her only attempt to make money off the fact that she is a great softball player and a great personality.”
Proponents of naming, image, and likeness laws complain about the lack of a national standard, even though the NCAA has stated it is considering one. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, whose members are mostly smaller schools, passed a guideline last year.
Buckner, listed as 6-foot-2,265-lb. (188 centimeters, 120 kilograms) Fighting Illinois defender 2003-2006 said the measure is now going to the Senate, where Senator Napolean Harris III, a Harvey Democrat, is a sponsor. A graduate of Northwestern University, Harris had a seven-year NFL career as a linebacker.
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