NBHIIISPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon B. Harris, III passed an initiative to expand opportunities for student-athletes to receive compensation in Illinois.

“Student athletes not only balance their team responsibilities but also keep up with the school coursework to stay up to date with their academic studies,” said Harris (D-Harvey). “It is important that we support student athletes by eliminating barriers for them receiving fair compensation for their endless hours of practices, events and games.”

Harris’s House Bill 307 would expand the methods of compensation by eliminating limitations on how name, image and likeness – also known as known as “NIL” – are paid, along with what consideration is allowed on the part of the student-athlete themselves.

The legislation would expand accessibility by allowing colleges to directly pay NIL contracts if it is in response to a court order or if the institution is utilizing NIL compensation as an incentive for an athlete to attend their school. It also would expand the definition of “student-athlete” to include individuals prior to and after their enrollment and deletes provisions that restrict a student from preemptively entering into a NIL contract or receive continued benefit from a NIL contract after their enrollment.

Additionally, it would clarify that a higher education facility may aid a student in their search for NIL compensation, or otherwise empower a student’s access to NIL contracts or compensation and that a student-athlete is not considered an employee because of their athletic performance.

The bill also includes provisions put in place to protect a student athlete’s privacy by exempting them from disclosure under FOIA from information that is related to or would disclose anything related to a student’s NIL contract or compensation.

Harris, a former NFL player and Northwestern University college football student athlete, led the charge in the 102nd General Assembly with the passage of SB 2338 which established the Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act. The law he crafted allows a student-athlete to be compensated for the use of their NIL and publicity rights.

“Thanks to the work we did in 2021, college athletes are finally receiving financial payments for their hard work and contributions to our state’s universities,” said Harris. “This legislation will take Illinois one step further in ensuring students receive fair compensation for their talent and dedication.”

House Bill 307 passed the Senate on Thursday and now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.