Ohio State President Still Opposes Endorsement Deals For College Athletes

Sep 24, 2019

Ohio State University President Michael Drake continues his opposition to allowing college athletes be paid for the use of their likeness.

Speaking on WOSU’s All Sides With Ann Fisher on Tuesday, Drake sided with the NCAA in criticizing a California bill that would let college athletes sign endorsement deals and hire agents without risking their eligibility.

"We don’t want to have things turn into professional sports," Drake says. "There are professional sports available now. Great. We want to do what we can to maintain collegiate athletics."

Drake says he supports the work underway by an NCAA committee, co-chaired by Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, examining the issue of athletes receiving money for the use of their names, images or likenesses. A report from that group is due in October.

The NCAA has long banned paying college athletes. But in recent decades, college sports has exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry resulting in universities receiving more and more money. Ohio State receives nearly $43 million per year for media rights alone.

"We’re also very interested in being appropriate and supporting our students and being fair to our students," Drake says. "And we and all the other schools commit millions, tens of millions of dollars a year in scholarships and other support to our student athletes."

California's legislature passed the "Fair Pay To Play Act" earlier this month. Outside of politics, the bill's supporters include Ohio native and former Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

If California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law, it would not go into effect until 2023.