What is Illini Guardians?


The Illini Guardians is comprised of dedicated supporters of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini athletics, committed to fostering powerful and positive relationships between the student-athletes and the University of Illinois business community by harnessing the opportunities created by Illinois’ Name, Image and Likeness legislation, known as the Student-Athlete Endorsement Rights Act.

How does this work?  

The dollars raised by Illini Guardians are pooled to create carefully vetted NIL contracts with the student athletes.  As among the highest profile students at the university, Illinois student-athletes are indeed ambassadors to reflect on their experiences and connect with outside organizations.  For example, Illini Guardians enter approved NIL contracts with the students to make appearances at schools and youth organizations both in their home communities and throughout Illinois.  Through the outstanding professional networks that run through Illini Guardians, we help match NIL opportunities between the student-athletes and interested businesses.  The Illini Guardians are positioned to ensure that such NIL contracts do not interfere with the students’ academic or athletic obligations, and that transparency and accountability are maintained. We need your help to fuel the NIL opportunities that will allow Illinois athletics to compete and thrive!

 Who are we?  

The Illini Guardians are volunteers. We are alumni. We are leaders.  We come to this effort with decades of professional success in the fields of law, banking, business, and other areas.  We are motivated only by the desire to create a pillar of strength for the Illini student-athletes that allows (1) Illini programs to remain at the very pinnacle of their sports, (2) while elevating the profile of the programs and deepening the ties with the business and alumni communities, (3) and working toward opportunities that allow young people to give back to their communities, to financially benefit from their skills, talents and unending work ethic, and to position them for opportunity and success that will stretch far into their own alumni years.