SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, issued the following statement Wednesday after passage of House Bill 3904, the Student Athlete Endorsement Act, in the House:
“Today we took another strong step to bring equity and fairness to college athletes in Illinois.
“While the NCAA, collegiate athletic conferences and universities bring in billions of dollars each year, the young people who are the driving force of this economic machine do not receive a single cent. The proposal we passed levels the playing field by allowing student athletes at all colleges and universities in Illinois to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness in endorsements or sponsorship opportunities.
“The students that stand to benefit the most from this legislation are playing at smaller schools and could earn an extra buck at a meet and greet at the local car dealership or mom and pop restaurant. Furthermore, endorsement opportunities would also give these young people real-world career skills and experience that will serve as an asset as they further their athletic careers professionally, or, in the vast majority of instances, as they enter the workforce searching for their first jobs as college graduates.
“My proposal is the fair and equitable thing to do for college athletes in Illinois. I look forward to continuing this debate, passing this bipartisan legislation in the Senate and getting this bill signed into law, so we can give college athletes the opportunity to receive the compensation that they deserve.”
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