The discourse in college football has been dominated by name, image and likeness since it was introduced to the sport nearly a year ago.
What started as signing autographs and making deals with local companies has ballooned into untold amounts of money being raised by NIL collectives and allegations of pay-for-play among the sport’s top contenders, and the end does not appear in sight for these issues being solved.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spoke on Wednesday about the impact of NIL and the overall changing landscape of college football in an interview with 97.1 The Fan, sharing concerns about problems facing the sport.
“When the rules aren’t easily enforced, or there’s misunderstanding of the rules and what’s appropriate and what isn’t…it creates a lot of hard feelings,” he said, “especially when you’re dealing with a very competitive environment.”
Ohio State has not been lacking in the NIL space, with two collectives – The Foundation and Cohesion Foundation – up and running and several current and former student-athletes involved in high-profile endorsement deals. The Buckeyes also have an in-house department that supports student-athletes working toward NIL deals
Day cautioned though that while the Buckeyes want to be active in this space, they don’t want to put the university or any student-athletes in jeopardy. Earlier this month, the NCAA released new NIL guidelines that categorizes collectives – or anyone that is involved with or donates to one – as a booster, meaning they cannot be involved in recruiting efforts for Ohio State.
Though the guidelines were just announced this month, the NCAA clarified that it will retroactively review cases where it feels a school violated rules that, “clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.”
“That’s been the biggest challenge is just finding what’s right for Ohio State,” Day said. “The risk of doing nothing is that you fall behind, and as we know, that’s not an option here at Ohio State. If you’re too far out in front of it, you can put yourself at risk in another way.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith shares Day’s concerns about the impact of NIL, and said in February that he would support federal legislation to help curb these problems.
“I’m hopeful at some point in time we do get federal legislation,” he said in February. “I don’t think the NCAA is the answer in this case.”