How much does it cost to play a round of golf with Illini athletes?

In this case, for a group of four, $1,200.

That includes green fees, golf cart use, a boxed lunch, course refreshments, a dinner meet-and-greet with players and a donation to the name/image/likeness liaison group Illini Guardians.

On Aug. 26, the Urbana Country Club will host the first NIL Golf Open, featuring several big-name Illinois athletes and coaches. A ticket pays for four golfers, who will team up with one of the Illini.

“Any profit from the event is going directly to the Illini Guardians and their athletes,” said Campus Ink sales director Jenna Koss. All players are compensated for showing up.

Who might a team be matched with? One of Illini basketball’s Luke Goode, Coleman Hawkins, Brandon Lieb, Skyy Clark, Matthew Mayer or coach Brad Underwood, or Illini golf’s Tommy Kuhl, TJ Barger and Jackson Buchanan. And there’s more to follow, Koss said.

The deadline to register and pay is Aug. 22. As of Thursday, there were still a few team spots left.

The event is presented by Campus Ink, a custom apparel store with a name, image, likeness footprint, and NIL fundraiser Illini Guardians, which compensates Illinois student-athletes through crowdfunded contracts.

“Golf is something we thought we could do that would help community members engage with the athletes,” said Lindsay Quick, who works community engagement for Campus Ink.

The apparel store has forged a niche in the local name, image and likeness scene, creating custom merchandise and managing the brands of student-athletes. The business teamed with Gameday Spirit to create and sell near-replica jerseys with players’ names on them, in stores and athletic venues like State Farm Center.

On July 29, Campus Ink hosted a “birthday party” for Clark, a freshman guard who signed autographs for attending fans.

“NIL has completely transformed our business, it’s a great way to show support for student-athletes,” Koss said. “We want to dive headfirst into it and get these athletes as much money as we can.”

Ethan Simmons is a reporter at The News-Gazette covering the University of Illinois. His email is esimmons@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@ethancsimmons).

Trending Videos