This press release from the University of Illinois is an interesting marker for NIL.
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will host an Open House event for local business leaders to provide information and answer questions regarding the Student-Athlete Endorsement Act, which is expected to take effect on July 1. The Open House is set for Tuesday, June 29 at the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center at 6 p.m.
The event will begin with refreshments and socializing at 6 p.m. in the Heckman Lobby followed by a program, which is set to start at 6:20 p.m. in the Levenick Auditorium. Businesses in attendance will have the chance to win a suite at Memorial Stadium for the season opener against Nebraska.
The Student-Athlete Endorsement Act allows student-athletes competing in college athletics in the state of Illinois to monetize their Name, Image and Likeness (commonly known as NIL). With an expected July 1 start date, collegiate student-athletes in Illinois, including Fighting Illini student-athletes, will now be able to enter into agreements with third parties for endorsement agreements, appearance fees, private lessons, camps, and other similar opportunities.
During Tuesday's educational forum, DIA administrators will share details about this historic legislation and how to best take advantage for businesses and organizations. Joining Director of Athletics Josh Whitman at the podium will be Fighting Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood and other DIA leaders who are involved with the implementation of INFLUENCE, DIA's new NIL program.
A couple of observations.
First, the school is offering an inducement for local businesses to attend. College sports is rapidly evolving but one thing remains true colleges are still looking for someone else to support their athletes. I'm not casting aspersions on the Illini - its the world of college sports. The system is designed so that schools only have one path forward.
Second, every school has a branded program. And almost every program has a social media theme. Add INFLUENCE to the list.