Gene Smith and Ohio State’s NIL solutions are a step backwards

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith should be at the stage of his career where he says, “I’m too old for this.” The Buckeyes’ longtime athletic director is retiring in 2024 and is likely moving somewhere warm , because Columbus isn’t the right place. After this season, NIL is no longer his problem.

But after 30 years as an athletic director at The Ohio State University and elsewhere, Smith has made it his mission to play a major role in shaping national NIL legislation before he rides off into the sunset.

On Wednesday, Smith testified about the need before the House Small Business Committee of Congress College athletics for uniform national num, memagician and likeness regulations. Stripping away rights after a constituency has been granted access to them is one of the toughest political tricks in the world, but the NCAA is doing its best and sending Smith as its representative Champion of the Power 4 aristocracy.

During the hearing, Smith complained about this The audacity of potential student-athletes to ask for $5,000 from schools in return for a visit. For a man who is reportedly the team president of Ohio’s third professional football franchise, Smith sounded pretty apoplectic about the idea of ​​spending a pocketful of Benjamins. Granted, that would be an NCAA violation, which illustrates how bad this is.Man argument that Smith let bubble out of his mouth. And even if there were recruits who would occasionally ask for $5,000 to secure a visit, it would be a no-brainer. Ohio State’s athletic department could pay five to every single member of ESPN’s top 150 recruits great and barely left a dent annual operating budget. Programs like Ohio State deal out six-Pay the payouts only for planning FCS programs for “Money gamesAnd bat an eyelash.

The reality, however, is that Ohio State has an economic advantage over most athletic programs in the country didn’t stop the Buckeyes’ GM from taking the trip to Capitol Hill complains for the plight of college football’s privileged class. Although Smith delivered his testimony to The NCAA’s Small Business Committee is anything but. In 2022, the The NCAA had revenue of $114 billion.

“Student-athletes and their parents visit campuses at these universities’ expense to evaluate where they can get involved,” Smith wrote in a letter. “The practice has emerged of charging a school a fee for simply visiting the campus; It is now common to charge $5,000 for a visit alone. During visits, discussions now arise about how much a student-athlete can expect from NIL.”

In the past, Smith has voiced his own solutions to the NIL dispute, which was to allow schools to create licenses for athletes who could determine which school-related NIL efforts they would like to be involved in. This alternative financial relief for athletes would only benefit NCAA interests, however.

“You can do other things,” Smith told the committee. “We could help them conduct business. If you’re an athlete majoring in actuarial science and there’s a company in Cleveland, I can take you to Cleveland and help introduce you to the CEO and say, “Hey, can you do a deal?” with him and make sure that he has a good experience?’”

No, man. It’s too late for all this backtracking. Smith should have pushed this forward 10 years before the Supreme Court ruling that effectively ended the NCAA outdated amateur rules. Smith’s solution sounds like something the NCAA should have supported years ago, before it was forced to scrap the “name, image and likeness” Rubicon. Having lost the battle, their version of diplomacy is to hire a politician to head the NCAA and suggest that student-athletes agree to surrender.

Asked whether his model would allow athletes to sign zero-cost contracts with collectives, Smith replied: “I’ll leave that to your imagination.”

Anything that significantly restricts student-athletes from accepting support opportunities is a step backwards for the student-athlete. And after the landmark Supreme Court case, anything that denies them access to the lucrative endorsements they’re already collecting will likely result in another trip back to the Supreme Court.

The truth about NIL legislation is that it is not about the players. It’s about the top programs and athletic directors maintaining and maintaining their own competitive advantage Labor costs fall for a billion dollars Institutions.

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