NCAA Suspends All-American for NIL Violations Prior to New Rule

One of college basketball’s biggest names will not appear in the first three games of the season due to prior violations of the former name, image, and likeness (NIL) policy of the NCAA.

Kofi Cockburn, the University of Illinois junior center and preseason Big 10 Player of the Year, according to a release from the Illini athletic department. The suspension related to Cockburn selling his team-issued gear on a website in June. According to a report from, Cockburn was testing the NBA draft waters at that time — about a month before the NCAA adopted new NIL legislation in July.

ncaaThe seven-foot center will miss home games against Jackson State and Arkansas State as well as a road game against Marquette. He’ll be eligible to play in the November 22nd game against Cincinnati.

He’ll additionally have to repay the amount generated from selling the apparel by making a donation to a charity of his choice.

“We are disappointed with the three-game suspension, because there were unprecedented factors and altered timelines related to his decision to ultimately withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said in a statement Monday. “Once Kofi had a full understanding of where he stood regarding the draft, he made an educated decision to return to school, work toward his degree, and continue improving his game.

“That said, we understand and respect the NCAA’s decision in this matter, and we will move forward accordingly. As always, Kofi’s attitude and outlook remain upbeat and positive. He is focused on helping his teammates prepare for the season, and we can’t wait to have him rejoin us on the court.”