Politicians from California, New York and South Carolina have said enough is enough. It is time for college sports programs to start allowing student-athletes to get some form of payment from their work. A college scholarship does not cut it anymore with the copious amounts of money that go into so-called amateur sports played on campuses from television, marketing partners and people who buy big ticket items such as luxury boxes and club seats. It appears that the Ohio State president and the school’s athletic director are ready to take on politicians who in their view are ready to destroy college sports. But in Ohio, Ohio State University President Michael Drake and the athletic director, Gene Smith, can lead the charge because there are no consequences. In 2014, Ohio lawmakers passed legislation to make sure Ohio State players are not classified as employees.
“We don’t want to have things turn into professional sports,” Drake said in an interview with the university radio station. “There are professional sports available now. Great. We want to do what we can to maintain collegiate athletics.” Drake and Smith apparently think student-athletes play for the love of the game. But the Ohio State University’s sports program is professional in every way except paying players. Ohio State did spend $21 million for student-athletes’ scholarships in 2018. Ohio State Athletics generated more than $205 million in revenue in the 2018 fiscal year, with football bringing in $110,692,709 and men’s and women’s basketball program adding $25,330,985, according to the NCAA Financial Report. The expenses for coaches’ salaries, benefits and bonuses totaled $38,911,213 which is more than what was given to the student-athlete scholarship pool. Drake is wrong, college sports is a professional endeavor.