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Should there be a revenue-sharing system for college athletes now that they can make money off their own names and images?
Ohio State coach Ryan Day suggested some sort of a future revenue-sharing model on Friday at Big Ten media day. With Nick Saban's revelation earlier this week that presumed starter Bryce Young had inked nearly $1 million in endorsement deals, Day was asked if he was hurting his starting quarterback's earnings by not naming a starter ahead of the 2021 season.
Former top recruit C.J. Stroud is the likely candidate to start for Ohio State and is even one of the betting favorites for the Heisman Trophy despite not officially being named the starting quarterback yet. Stroud is listed at +1600 to win the Heisman at BetMGM and is the No. 6 favorite.
Day didn't say whether or not he thought that he was depressing his quarterback's potential earnings and said that those earnings would come "naturally." He then pivoted to pitching a possible revenue-sharing plan for players because star playmakers will be making more money in endorsement deals than backups.
"But I do think that we need to consider, down the road, somewhere a long the line, maybe it's a year from now, figuring out how we spread some of that money out," Day said. "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. However, 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. 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."
Should pooling happen?
Is Day's suggestion the compromise between the capitalism of the open endorsement market and the official status quo in college football for decades? With players unable to (legally) accept money for their name and image rights, the value of the scholarship for the quarterback was seen as the same as the value for the 85th man on the team.
But why does there even need to be a compromise in the first place? The status quo in college sports has long gone against the American love of capitalism. Allowing star athletes to sign endorsement deals helps them recoup some of the value that they're bringing to their schools. The starting quarterback at Ohio State is worth far more than the cost of his scholarship to the school when it comes to marketing and promotion. It's only fair that he has a chance to cash in.
Is it fair to the guy at the bottom of the roster? Maybe not. But that's how it is in the NFL and any other sports league. The third-string quarterback hardly ever makes more than the starter.
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