The Fighting Illini’s returning center Kofi Cockburn will not be suiting up to play in the first three games of the regular season. Cockburn received the suspension as a result of his failure to adhere to NCAA rules pertaining to new name, image, and likeness legislation put in place earlier this season.
Kofi Cockburn will miss Illinois' first three games due to an NCAA suspension, the school announces. pic.twitter.com/JMb3uaHjbu— Brian Hamilton (@_Brian_Hamilton) November 1, 2021
Cockburn was found by the NCAA to have prematurely sold institutionally issued apparel and memorabilia prior to the July 1 date at which time new NIL rules went into effect for players in Illinois.
As a result of the transgression, Cockburn will miss the season opener vs. Jackson State on Nov. 9. He will also miss a matchup with Arkansas State on a Nov. 12 matchup at Marquette that is part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Cockburn will return to the court for Illinois on Nov. 22 against Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Classic.
Cockburn will be allowed to practice with the team during the suspension. He had initially entered his name in the 2021 NBA Draft on April 18. Cockburn later entered his name into the transfer portal on July 1 while remaining in the draft. He shortly thereafter withdrew his name from the draft on July 6 and then later announced his return to Illinois on July 19 for his junior season.