Posted by Paul Callighan on Jan 18, 2023
Student athletes are now allowed to profit from endorsements under the Name, Image, and Likeness law in Illinois but with various safeguards in  place to protect the student and their school’s athletic program.  Northern Illinois University’s Senior Associate Athletic Director Courtney Vinson and Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Matt Varnadoe explained the recent change in what athletes can and cannot do regarding endorsements during this week’s Rotary meeting.
Vinson said endorsements deals are done outside the university setting but are monitored for compliance.  She said these endorsements most frequently are found in traditional media advertising, social media, and personal appearances.  Endorsement contracts are limited to an athlete’s eligibility period (such as four years for first-year students) and must include a formal written contract if they pay out over $500.  Vinson said there cannot be a direct link to the university program (although the NIU logo use is available for purchase).  There is a prohibition on endorsements involving activities such as gambling, alcohol, and tobacco.
Varnadoe said the university seeks to help student athletes better understand the world of endorsements.  He said they work with a company called “Compass” to educate, monitor, and help with licensing arrangements.  The latter can include endorsements on jerseys, playing cards, and video games.  They also partner with a company called “Opendorse” which helps explain endorsement opportunities.  Varnadoe said another aspect of this endorsement area is appearances by athletes at donor and corporate functions.  NIU contracts with a third-party vendor, “The Boneyard Victor E. Collective,” to monitor these requests.