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Illinois poised to be second state to allow college athletes to take endorsement deals

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Illinois could become the second state to allow college athletes to get a shoe deal. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed legislation that bans the NCAA from stripping students of the eligibility to play for accepting compensation for their name, face or likeness. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said supports legislation that would do the same. 

“Any other student who has a job on weekends to make money while they’re in school gets to keep what they earn,” he said Monday. “So, why shouldn’t student-athletes be afforded the same rights?”

While Pritzker endorsed the bill, he repeated a talking point from the NCAA in its opposition. The governor said the matter should be handled at the national level. 

State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester, introduced a bill in Springfield shortly after Newsom enacted California’s law. Welch was a student-athlete at Northwestern. 

“Young men and women who stimulate the economics of the NCAA should also be able to stimulate their own economic well being,” he said.

Representatives from the Big Ten Conference weren’t available for comment, but soon-to-retire director Jim Delaney told reporters on Oct. 2 that he opposed the measure.

“The law of unintended consequences and the law of slippery slope apply here,” he said. “I hope we’re able to maintain the opportunities we have for men and women and avoid pay-for-play insofar as we can.”

Other states are also considering legislation that would do the same.