Illinois governor backs endorsements for college athletes

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FILE – In this April 12, 2019 file photo, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker answers questions after a bill signing in the governor’s office at the Illinois State Capitol, in Springfield, Ill. Gov. Pritzker has compiled a $41.5 billion state capital-construction plan to rebuild and maintain roads, schools and affordable housing, make environmental improvements and more. The Democrat briefed key lawmakers Friday. He did not release the plan but news organizations including The Associated Press obtained copies of it. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker backs legislation that would allow college athletes to be paid for endorsements .

Pritzker made the announcement Monday before the start of the Legislature’s fall session. He says athletes are unable to share in the billions of dollars universities make on intercollegiate sports. Their names and likenesses often show up on commercial products such as video games.

California defied the NCAA this month by legalizing college endorsement deals. Hillside Democratic Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch says approval of his plan in Illinois would ratchet up the pressure on the NCAA to “do the right thing.”

Pritzker noted that a college music student may perform for money and art students may sell their work.

The General Assembly meets through Wednesday and Nov. 12-14.

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The bill is HB3904.

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