The National Collegiate Athletic Association suspended University of Illinois men’s basketball player Kofi Cockburn, one of the biggest stars in college athletics, Monday for selling memorabilia in June — though name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation went into effect July 1 that now makes such a transaction legal.
Cockburn, a consensus All-American last season, will sit out his team’s first three games, beginning with the November 9 season opener against Jackson State.
After many years of pushback, the NCAA finally dropped its ban on students profiting from jersey sales, endorsement deals, marketing contracts and the like beginning July 1 after the Supreme Court ruled in June that student-athletes were entitled to additional benefits. Meanwhile, Cockburn was actually not planning on returning to college athletics when he committed the violation in June, as he was still in the NBA draft process, only deciding to return to college July 6, five days after the ruling.
$17-21 billion. That’s how much total compensation Black football and basketball athletes competing in “Power Five” athletic conferences lost out on from 2005 to 2019, according to a recent study, because of no wages or NIL deals.
Despite the new NIL rules, the NCAA has remained firm on maintaining prior penalties. In July, the NCAA denied former University of Southern California football star Reggie Bush’s request to have his Heisman Trophy reinstated, though the then-disallowed benefits he received in 2005 would be permissible today.