The Ohio State Board of Trustees Legal, Risk and Compliance Committee met Thursday to discuss the impact of the NCAA’s lifting of name, image and likeness restrictions on Ohio State student-athletes.
As of Jan. 23, 225 Ohio State student-athletes have made almost $3 million in 619 NIL deals, athletic director Gene Smith said. Providing a previously untapped source of income for student-athletes, he said the university endorses student-athletes’ accessibility to these deals.
“[The athletic department] embraced name, image and likeness as an opportunity to educate our student-athletes on a number of different issues,” Smith said.
Smith said NIL opportunities teach athletes about building a brand, negotiating deals and making money off their name. NIL deals also give those attending school on partial scholarships the opportunity to pay back student debt with their earnings, Smith said.
Smith said Ohio State currently ranks No. 1 nationally in NIL compensation and number of student-athletes with at least one NIL activity. The university ranks No. 2 nationally in NIL activities, NIL compensation per activity and percent of student-athletes with at least one NIL activity.
Smith said within Ohio State’s top male sport, football, players have made 173 deals totalling close to $2.7 million, with the average payment per deal at Ohio State coming in at about $15,500, compared to the national average of $2,700.
At the meeting, freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson shared how NIL opportunities and learning related skills have impacted his student-athlete experience. He said he especially wants to help his mother using his NIL proceeds.
“Growing up I watched my mom struggle to take care of me and my two brothers all by herself. All I ever wanted was to be able to give back to her someday,” Henderson said. “Before NIL started it was hard for me to help take care of her due to monthly expenses. When the NIL finally passed, it changed my life forever.”
Sarah Morbitzer, a sophomore defensive specialist for the women’s volleyball team, said she made $1,600 in one week holding volleyball training sessions at her high school gym.
Morbitzer said NIL deals have allowed her to dedicate her time to volleyball and school while remaining financially stable in college.
“Being a walk-on, my parents had to pay my tuition, room and board,” Morbitzer said. “Learning about NIL gave me the opportunity to earn some spending money on my own without having an actual job that I would have trouble finding hours to commit to.”