Local College Student Throws Out First Pitch At White Sox Game

University of Illinois Men’s Football Player Malik Elzy throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Chicago White Sox vs. the Baltimore Orioles game. Elzy is part of CHISOX Athletes, a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program for student athletes. Photo courtesy of the Chicago White Sox.
University of Illinois Men’s Football Player Malik Elzy throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Chicago White Sox vs. the Baltimore Orioles game. Elzy is part of CHISOX Athletes, a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) program for student athletes. Photo courtesy of the Chicago White Sox.

Local College Student Throws Out First Pitch At White Sox Game

By Tia Carol Jones

Simeon High School graduate Malik Elzy threw out a ceremonial first pitch at the Chicago White Sox Wednesday, May 22nd, game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Elzy is a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he plays wide receiver on the Illinois Men’s Football team. His older brother got him into sports and he started playing football. He always looked up to his brother and refers to his brother as his superhero.

“Coming to the University of Illinois, staying in my home state is a big deal for me. It means my family can come and see me at my games whenever they want to. I’m at a major program, at a Big 10 school, with a great coach” he said.

Elzy was excited to be at the Chicago White Sox game and throwing  out the ceremonial first pitch. Growing up on the South side of Chicago and coming to White Sox games, he never imagined he would be able to throw out the first pitch.

Elzy is one of nine members of the Chicago White Sox’s 2024 CHISOX Athletes. The Name Image and Likeness (NIL) program began in 2022, with the aim to empower local student athletes. The program prioritizes a student-first approach, which includes a focus on financial and professional marketing opportunities with the goal of helping to enhance the student’s unique brands and platforms. First year athletes in the program received insights in careers across the sports industry and have access to professional resources. Returning athletes have the opportunity to get an invitation to join the White Sox broadcast alongside personalities from Sox television and partners from radio stations NBC Sports Chicago and ESPN Radio.

Since CHISOX Athletes began in 2022, 25 student athletes have been signed. Some student athletes have returned for multiple years in the program. Student athletes come from a variety of sports backgrounds and are chosen based on whether they live in the Chicagoland/Northwest Indiana area and if they play on the collegiate level in the Midwest. Having a strong social presence and notoriety on campus is a plus for the 8-12 athletes who are chosen. Softball and baseball players cannot be admitted to the program, per Major League Baseball guidelines.

“I’ve heard from almost every athlete that the CHISOX Athlete program is the most unique and most fun NIL deal that they have done. The White Sox digital media and public relations team does a great job of showcasing each individual athlete which is a very unique benefit. Every athlete has the same opportunities that they can take advantage of and it’s up to them to determine how much they want to utilize it. The program is intentionally designed to be very easy on the athlete,” said Mike Downey, Director of Marketing and Promotions, in a statement.

For more information about the CHISOX Athlete program, visit whitesox.com/nil.

Latest Stories





Latest Podcast

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Expert Tyronne Studemire