Ohio State Buckeyes: Gene Smith, Ryan Day and Cardale Jones speak in favor of NIL bill being considered by Ohio House

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith told an Ohio House of Representatives committee passing a bill to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness is important for athletes throughout the state.

“I believe that this NIL proposal is exceptional for our student-athletes in all of Ohio, be it Toledo, Miami, Ohio State, or whatever,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, the NCAA has done a poor job in addressing this issue.”

ExploreBill could open channels for athletes to make more money while playing college sports

Smith spoke Tuesday afternoon in front of the State and Local Government Committee, which is considering Senate Bill 187 introduced by Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and passed the Ohio Senate last week.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day and former quarterback Cardale Jones also appeared before the committee to support the bill and urge voting for an emergency clause that would allow the bill to go into effect on July 1.

That is when several other states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas, have similar bills set to go into effect.

“If we don’t do it by July 1 relative to this emergency clause, (Day) will be at a recruiting disadvantage,” Smith said. “Our swimming coach will be at a recruiting disadvantage. Our gymnastics coach will be at a recruiting disadvantage.”

Without the clause also passing, the bill would not go into effect until 90 days after it is passed.

Day’s recruiting class for 2022 is ranked No. 1 in the nation, but those players cannot sign binding letters of intent until December.

He confirmed his belief a lack of quick action could have disastrous recruiting consequences in a matter of just weeks for Ohio colleges beginning next month, an impact that could be long-lasting.

“My biggest concern is if we don’t do it now, it will put our athletes at a disadvantage for sure and leave us with an un-level playing field,” Day said.

Jones, who was a Buckeye quarterback from 2012-15 and played a key role on the 2014 national championship team, said he might have remained in school longer if he was afforded such an opportunity.

Instead, he gave up his last year of eligibility and entered the NFL Draft, where he was chosen in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills.

“I was fortunate enough to be on scholarship, but I can tell you this: The scholarship did not always cover all expenses,” Jones said. “Senate Bill 187 will change that by allowing student-athletes to capitalize on an individual brand they created on and off the field.

“This bill can change the lives of current and future student-athletes and their families. I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to play the National Football League, but I can tell you countless teammates who did not have the opportunity but were household names and college and star athletes. Under this bill, they could have benefited from their hard work on and off the field while at Ohio State. This bill would have been able to positively impact them and their families and their financial futures.”

Jones also expressed his belief social media would provide the biggest revenue opportunity in no small part because of the time constraints football players face between practice, workouts and maintaining their studies.

The NCAA Division I Council has considered changes to existing rules that prohibit athletes from capitalizing on their name, image and likeness, but nothing has been approved yet.

At the federal level, multiple bills have been proposed and negotiations are ongoing, but nothing is likely to be passed by the end of the month.

If the bill is voted out of committee, it would go to the full Ohio House for a vote then go on to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk for a signature.

A two-thirds majority would be required via separate vote to pass the emergency clause.

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