Ohio State Buckeyes: Officials work to connect with, inform businesses interested in working with athletes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ryan Day on current state of NIL in college football recruiting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Uncertainty is among the reasons the move to allow college athletes to do endorsements and otherwise make money off their notoriety from playing sports has dominated headlines over the past year.

Not only is the concept at the same time typically considered both revolutionary and overdue, it is also being implemented differently from state to state as rules vary and questions remain about what is and what is not allowed.

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Some schools reportedly have jumped headfirst into the marketing pool, going up to and perhaps over the line of demarcation of legality.

Others have been conservative, wary of the NCAA eventually striking back against the rule-breakers.

Ryan Day has said Ohio State is attempting to balance doing enough without doing too much, but the issue of uncertainty remains.

The school tried to work on that with a breakfast event for local businesses this week.

Day, director of athletics Gene Smith and assistant AD Carey Hoyt took part in conversations about how the department and potential advertisers can work together to create opportunities for Buckeye athletes.

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While the focus of the day was to be on the creation of a “corporate ambassador program,” Day made headlines by dropping a dollar figure for maintaining a championship-quality roster: $13 million.

That is not the amount of money needed to put together a top recruiting class, which technically is forbidden by NCAA rules that may or may not be enforced anytime soon.

Rather, Day said it was the size of war chest he expects to be required to satisfy current players who could transfer after the season and play at a new school without having to sit out for a year.

“One phone call and they’re out the door,” Day told the gathering according to Cleveland.com. “We cannot let that happen at Ohio State. I’m not trying to sound the alarm, I’m just trying to be transparent about what we’re dealing with.”

Schools cannot pay players a salary, but they are able to connect players with businesses who want to compensate them in exchange for various services, including promoting their products or brands.

Per the athletics department, the goals of the corporate ambassador program include “providing a mechanism for student-athletes to utilize their name, image, and likeness while gaining meaningful marketing and advertisement experience” and teach players how to navigate corporate relationships according to material the athletics department provided after the event.

Terms of service and compensation will vary from deal to deal, but Ohio State suggests a 12-month package that includes 12 social media endorsements, six on-site appearances and one commercial advertisement.

The day also included a second panel discussion during which OSU lacrosse player Mitchell Pehlke talked about his experiences with NIL deals along with representatives from Express, Giant Eagle and Playa Bowls.

According to OSU, the school’s athletes have executed more than 900 NIL deals so far with players from every team sport taking part and total compensation close to $3.5 million.

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