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By Ethan Simmons, The News Gazette. Photo by: Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

The last year has proved a few of NIL’s possibilities. It’s grown and started businesses, been the basis of college-level courses, and as many argue, become a necessary recruitment tool.


CHAMPAIGN — After losing the commitment of a highly touted lineman transfer last week, Illini football coach Bret Bielema took to Twitter.

“College football is changing everyday #NIL,” Bielema wrote, after center Avery Jones announced he’d attend Auburn University a month after verbally committing to Illinois.

The implication: The promise of name, image and likeness deals changed Jones’ mind. The coach isn’t the only one who made the inference.

“If you are committed and interested in the university having a top- quality and competitive athletic program, then this has very much become a necessary evil,” said attorney Adam Fleischer, a co-founder of the Illini Guardians NIL collective.



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