Illini icon Dee Brown on NIL legislation


(WCIA) — College sports are about to change dramatically, when athletes in Illinois will be able to profit off their name, image, and likeness as soon as July 1st.

It’s something that wasn’t possible for Illini icons like Dee Brown who, despite his popularity, couldn’t make money during his amateur career. Brown is still one of the most memorable and well-liked players to ever wear the Orange and Blue, and was the face of the program in 2005. It was the same year Brown was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the Illini went to the NCAA Championship game.

“I was just blessed enough to get a college education, go to school for free, and times have changed,” says Brown. “Times have changed for the better I guess, but if this was going on when I was playing I would have been smiling even harder and probably selling mouthpieces and headbands and all that, but it’s a new world and a new way of thinking, I love college basketball, college basketball gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams, good luck to these guys that can actually use they name and likeness for some money.”

Several coaches at Illinois are in favor of athletes getting to profit on their name, image, and likeness. Illinois basketball head coach Brad Underwood and football head coach Bret Bielema both released statements this week in support of the new legislation. Illinois Athletics also put out a statement on social media.          

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