Athletes can now be paid for their name, image and likeness

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CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — “Honestly its super, super exciting and like this really is a dream come true,” Dylan Kolak, U of I gymnast, said.

He’s certainly not the only one who feels that way now that college athletes can be paid for their personal brand.

It’s a whole new world for college players in Illinois. Starting today, they can be compensated for their name, image and likeness. The governor signed it into law earlier this week.

Dylan Kolak is not only is he a gymnast at the University of Illinois, but he’s currently in California networking his brand.

Student athletes can now benefit of their name, image, and likeness.

“Definitely feel very, very blessed to be honest that I’m in the NCAA while this will be allowed,” Kolak said.

Governor Pritzker signed it into law Wednesday.

“I think what this signals is that we’re poised and ready to be at the vanguard and be at the front of the charge,” Kam Buckner, Illinois House Representative, said.

The NCAA followed suit the next day.

“I feel its only, its about time, that we can start to benefit and to be compensated for our hard work,” Kolak said.

Now, athletes can make money while getting an education and playing their sport.

“I just think this is a really great opportunity because a lot of sports the only way you could make money is if you go into the professional leagues, and a lot of the NCAA sports actually don’t have like super popular professional leagues,” Kolak said.

Dylan Kolak is a gymnast at U of I. He has around half a million followers on Tik Tok and 23,000 on Instagram. He is currently working on collaborating with different companies, but he also hopes by using his name he can help the sport he loves.

“Having gymnasts, men’s gymnasts and female gymnasts in the country able to start to grow their name, image, and likeness and start to benefit off that its going to be really, really great for the sport itself,” Kolak said.

Kolak hopes this opportunity is helpful for athletes to make money, especially since fewer than two percent will go on to play professionally.

“For gymnastics and smaller sports like that, there’s not really that professional level that you could get to to really make money. This really allows every single student athlete to equally be able to make money while you’re still in the NCAA,” Kolak said.

Kolak says this won’t just help athletes in school, but after, too. He hopes he’s able to make enough to pay for grad school when his four years are up.

“If we want to we can really set ourselves up for success for after we graduate to have that economic stability,” Kolak said.

U of I basketball player Andre Curbelo and football player Jamal Woods both announced they are working with Yoke gaming, where people can pay to play video games with the athletes. Curbelo also signed a deal with U of I Credit Union. His teammate, Trent Frazier, also announced a paid partnership with Go Puff, a delivery service.

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