CHAMPAGNE, ill. – The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is proud to announce NIL Impact, an innovative new campaign designed to galvanize support for student-athlete (NIL) name, image and likeness activities. Last year’s state law gave student-athletes the right to earn third-party compensation for outside work, and recent amendments to state law have allowed Illinois Athletics to become more actively involved in identifying and amplifying student-athlete NIL projects.
“The past few years of college athletics have been characterized by intense change and widespread disruption. Whether resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, conference realignment, governance conversations, or changes to regulations on transfers, Illinois has always tried to turn disruption into opportunity,” the athletic director said. Josh Whitman. “NIL has introduced a new paradigm across the country, and our NIL Impact campaign presents another chance for Illinois Athletics to assert themselves as a leader and create lasting success.”
To date, Illinois’ NIL strategy has focused primarily on education, and the NIL Impact campaign adds a necessary development component to the department’s approach.
“NIL has now become a resource game, and the Illinois fan base has more resources than anyone in the country. If we can win NIL, we can win championships,” said the head coach of men’s basketball. Brad Underwood.
Among the key support mechanisms for NIL Impact will be Illini Guardians, the third-party entity designed to support Illinois student-athletes in this new space. Illini Guardians is primarily a fundraising organization, and the proceeds of Illini Guardians contributions are collectively pooled to create impactful, community-driven NIL opportunities for Illinois student-athletes. DIA staff plan to work closely with the Illini Guardians to ensure the utmost integrity, rule compliance, and efficiency in all NIL activities.
“The best way to energize a program is to support the fans, and the two best ways to support us right now are to subscribe to Illini Guardians and pack your bags,” the women’s basketball head coach said. . Shauna Green.
The NIL Impact campaign offers three actionable pathways for supporters:
- Join the Collective: Illini Guardians offers various subscription packages that ensure fan engagement through a cohesive structure designed exclusively for the benefit of Fighting Illini student-athletes. Learn more at illiniguardians.com.
- Work directly with student-athletes: Contact NILimpact@illinois.edu or any member of the Athletic Development Office. Our staff can help you work with our student-athletes for specific opportunities.
- Organize a Business Marketing Opportunity: Partner with Illinois student-athletes for your promotional services using the Illinois Marketplace at opendorse.com/illinois-fightingillini. You can also contact NILimpact@illinois.edu or any member of the Athletic Development Office for assistance.
The NIL experiences quickly became a major focus for student-athletes across the country.
“NIL becomes an important part of the whole student-athlete experience,” the volleyball head coach explained. Chris Tamas. “We can solidify ourselves as perennial contenders if we can establish an advantage in NIL for all of our sports.”
Since last year’s changes came into effect, several national programs have already seen significant results resulting in part from movement across the NIL landscape. While NIL structures have taken many forms, new developments have consistently shown their ability to affect the competitive environment.
“Our needs are great, but our opportunity is much greater,” the head football coach said. Bret Bielema. “If our people can rally together to support NIL now, we can quickly take this program to heights we’ve never seen before.”