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Nov 2, 2022 2022-11

Gies, DIA partner for landmark Name, Image, and Likeness online program

Gies College of Business and the University of Illinois' Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) have announced the creation of a new online course designed for student-athletes to navigate the business of name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities. Course participants who complete all required modules and assessments will be eligible to earn the Name, Image and Likeness Certificate from the Gies College of Business, one of the nation’s most innovative and respected business colleges.

“Educating young people is core to our mission, and I am proud that Gies has the opportunity to work together with DIA to help educate Illinois student-athletes in this new space,” said Jeffrey Brown, Dean of the Gies College of Business and Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor in Business. “Our business course offerings and faculty are among the strongest in the nation, and I look forward to the chance to showcase our capacity to serve student-athlete populations.”

The online course, entitled “Business Skills for Student Athletes: Navigating Name, Image and Likeness Opportunities,” follows the framework of the INFLUENCE program, DIA’s educational strategy designed to support Fighting Illini student-athletes as it relates to NIL. The pillars of the INFLUENCE program are brand and strategy development, business innovation and entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, each of which is emphasized through the curriculum that was developed for this new initiative. The course leverages the expertise and creative library of Gies College of Business to provide a focused educational experience that is uniquely tailored for student-athletes.

“As a student-athlete, I will say that this program will be perfect for me. I know that there are key business concepts that I’ll need to learn in order to really capitalize on my NIL, and the online format allows me to learn those concepts at a pace that works for my schedule,” said Abby Lynch, a two-sport athlete in track and field and soccer as well as a sophomore in Gies College of Business.

The new course will operate alongside the DIA’s recently announced Brand Ambassador Program in conjunction with the University of Illinois College of Media and Brand Hub, which separately pairs student-athletes and other organizations with individual brand ambassadors in order to establish and better develop their personal brand strategies.

“Student-athlete education has always been the core of our NIL strategy,” said Director of Athletics and Gies alumnus Josh Whitman. “We have been working extensively to create a premier online platform to serve student-athlete needs, and I am proud of what we’ve accomplished with this effort. I appreciate Dean Brown, Dr. Tiffany White, Dr. Gary Hecht, Amanda Brantner and everyone else involved with turning our shared educational vision into a reality.”

Illinois student-athletes may enroll in the online course immediately via Canvas, and Gies College of Business plans to offer the program to other universities in the near future.