COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University Coach Ryan Day has yet to name a starter at quarterback for the 2021 season. When he does, whoever fills that role could expect to become the most popular collegiate athlete in the state.
Now that the NCAA has permitted athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, it’s possible Ohio State’s next quarterback could make a small fortune, unlike his predecessors who were banned from profiting from their popularity.
Day is considering a trio of signal callers — Jack Miller, C.J. Stroud and Kyle McCord — to replace Justin Fields who left the Buckeyes for the NFL in the offseason.
University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban addressed reports that his possible soon-to-be starting quarterback Bryce Young will make $1 million in endorsements.
“Everything that we've done in college athletics in the past has always been equal,” Saban said this week at the SEC’s Media Days event. “Everybody's had equal scholarship, equal opportunity. Now that's probably not going to be the case. Some positions, some players will have more opportunities than others. And how that's going to impact your team, our team, the players on the team, I really can't answer because we don't have any precedent for it."
On Friday, Day was asked whether not naming a starter could hurt the potential profitability of his future quarterback.
“If they're worried about starting, if they're worried about money, then they're worried about the wrong things,” Day said. “Those things happen and they will come naturally. But I do think that we need to consider, down the road, somewhere along the line, maybe it's a year from now, figuring out how we spread some of that money out. Because certainly the quarterback at Ohio State is going to have unbelievable opportunity.
"The wide receiver, the running back, there's going to be certain positions, when you combine the brand of Ohio State, you combine the brand of Ohio State football, you combine the city of Columbus with our social media presence, it's like the perfect alignment. So the opportunity for our guys is going to be unlike anywhere else in the country.”
Like Saban, Day is concerned about unequal opportunities for players based on their position on the field.
“How do we find ways to make sure we disseminate that throughout the team, because there's a lot of guys out there who are also playing football?” Day said. “There's guys who are blocking for the quarterback, there's guys who are covering the wide receivers. And while it's tricky and I don't really have quite the answer, I know that there's got to be some sort of formula down the road that we can consider.”
Ohio State issued extensive guidance for its athletes to follow regarding name, image and likeness. Players are required to coordinate sponsorship opportunities with the university in order for the university to ensure there are no conflicts with university contracts. It is noted that athletes are unable to do endorsements for rivals of Nike and Coca-Cola due to existing contracts with those brands.