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U of I, Opendorse partner to help connect businesses, student-athletes for NIL

The University of Illinois and Opendorse have joined forces to offer student-athletes and businesses a name, image and likeness marketplace.

The new marketplace offers student-athletes easier access to review opportunities, accept offers from businesses on the platform and earn compensation.

“The purpose is to provide student-athletes with a platform to interact with the business community and fans,” Kamron Cox, the director of the INFLUENCE Program for the University of Illinois Athletics, told The Center Square.

Deals that take place through the Illinois Marketplace will be processed through Opendorse to follow state law and NCAA policy, according to

The Illinois Marketplace allows businesses to locate student-athletes through individual profiles, where the athlete sets their personal preferences, interests and social media accounts.

“Student athletes are making social media endorsements. Student-athletes are making public appearances. Student-athletes are creating works of art. Student-athletes are having autograph sessions. They’re doing all this kind of stuff associated with leveraging that celebrity,” Cox said.

Social media engagement rate metrics are available to be showcased in the Illinois Marketplace, according to

“We have 550 student-athletes that we serve and you may not know which one you want but you may know ‘I want a soccer player from Illinois,'” Cox said. “Maybe you want Ashley Prell, maybe you get Makena Silber. What the marketplace does is it allows you to go to the Illinois-specific page, sort for soccer, and then you can see all of the profiles there. Whereas before the marketplace existed, you would have had to actually know that you wanted to grab Abby Lynch or whatever.”

To Cox, the Illinois Marketplace is a win-win for all who leverage it.

“It’s enough to give you the principles in a controlled environment where you can’t really lose too much and, gee, if you have any questions we’re always there to help you out,” Cox said.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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