Illini Athlete Partners with Illini Business


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Starting Thursday, things are changing for college athletes. They can officially start earning money for their name, image and likeness.

Athletes around the country are already marketing themselves. One local business said they couldn’t wait to partner up with a student-athlete.

You may recognize the name Andre Curbelo, and you may bank with the U of I Credit Union, but now the 2 are shaking hands and making deals.

“We reached out to Andre and said, you know, what could this possible partnership look like,” Chris Harlan, President, and CEO for U of I credit union.

Just days ago, Governor Pritzker signed the Student-Athlete Endorsement Act. That means student-athletes can make money off their name, image, and likeness.

Shortly after the NCAA followed suit making it legal for student athletes in all 50 states.

Harlan said they didn’t want to waste anytime taking this next step.

“We said well, what if we wanted to do something on the first day and he said yeah lets do,” Harlan said.

Andre Curbelo announced his deal with the U of I credit union Thursday afternoon. Harlan said the response to the news has been overwhelming and exciting.

“We’ve had a great partnership with Illinois athletics. We’ve been sponsors for a long time, but you know you always kept that separation with the student-athletes,” Harlan said.

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