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Kyle Snyder’s gold medal paid off in more ways than one

The Ohio State junior is making some solid coin for his trip of a lifetime.

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Wrestling - Olympics: Day 16 Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

"I tried to push it out of my brain because I’m trying to focus on the wrestling and focus on just competing as hard as I can. But that type of stuff, gold medal, money, accolades, all that stuff pops in my head. But during competition I like to keep it simple and focus on the wrestling."

-Kyle Snyder, via Steve Berkowitz, USA Today

With a win over Azerbaijan’s Khetag Goziumov in the 97-kilogram freestyle wrestling competition on the final day of the Olympic games in Rio, Kyle Snyder is bringing home a lot more than a gold medal in the form of a $250,000 bonus from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Wrestling. Though most U.S. Olympic athletes earn about $25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for a silver and $10,000 for a bronze, some of the governing bodies of individual sports--including wrestling--have opted to provide additional or increased award amounts as incentives to keep athletes in the game. Also, as many of the athletes receiving medals are still in college, the NCAA has a special rule to allow college athletes to keep cash earned at the Olympics through the Operation Gold program, which totals about $2.1 million for this year’s games for all college athletes, and $1.3 million for U.S. college athletes.

This is not the first time Snyder has benefitted from the rule. Last summer, after winning a world championship in Las Vegas, Snyder earned a $50,000 bonus from USA Wrestling which also fell under the Operation Gold program. Two other U.S. athletes--Helen Maroulis and Missouri’s J’Den Cox--will also receive awards through Operation Gold for earning medals this year.

These bonuses extend well beyond wrestling. Swimmer Katie Ledecky, for instance, will be able to keep the $115,000 in awards for her four gold medals and one silver, in addition to as-of-yet undisclosed earnings from USA Swimming. The NCAA also recently enacted a rule to allow foreign athletes competing in the NCAA to keep earnings from their own respective Olympic committees and governing bodies, which means that Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, who defeated Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly, will be able to keep a $740,000 bonus when he heads back to the University of Texas this year.

"I appreciate my teammates. Y’all pushed me every day to get better. The older guys, I look up to you guys. I came in here with a work ethic and I just want to keep going."

-Keandre Jones, via Urban Meyer

With the start of official practice in Columbus following the conclusion of fall camp, three more Buckeye freshmen lost their black stripes today. Urban Meyer called up linebacker Keandre Jones, cornerback Jordan Fuller and defensive end Joshua Alabi to be recognized in front of the team as full members, having demonstrated the necessary work ethic to have the stripe removed. Freshman running back Demario McCall and defensive end Rashod Berry recently lost their own black stripes on the last day of fall camp Friday. Wide receiver Austin Mack became the first freshman to lose his stripe this year back in March--the only one to do so prior to the start of fall camp. Offensive lineman Michael Jordan--who is projected to start at left guard this season--earned the honor Aug. 7. In all, 18 freshmen have lost their stripes:

  • WR Austin Mack (March 31)
  • OL Michael Jordan (Aug. 7)
  • CB Damon Arnette (Aug. 13)
  • LB Tuf Borland (Aug. 13)
  • QB Joe Burrow (Aug. 13)
  • DE Jonathon Cooper (Aug. 13)
  • DT Davon Hamilton (Aug. 13)
  • CB Joshua Norwood (Aug. 13)
  • QB Dwayne Haskins (Aug. 17)
  • CB Rodjay Burns (Aug. 17)
  • RB Jordan Leasure (Aug. 18)
  • WR Binjimen Victor (Aug. 18)
  • DL Joe Schroer (Aug. 19)
  • RB Demario McCall (Aug. 20)
  • DE Rashod Berry (Aug. 20)
  • LB Keandre Jones (Aug. 22)
  • CB Jordan Fuller (Aug. 22)
  • DE Joshua Alabi (Aug. 22)

"That reason--the recruiting part--is also why I don’t think the freefall for Ohio State will be as extreme or dramatic as many are expecting. Remember, the Buckeyes have, quite literally, had the best recruiting in the Big Ten every year Meyer has been at the school."

-Aaron Torres, FOX Sports

With the Ohio State Buckeyes ranked No.6 in the preseason AP Poll, they are one of the true contenders for this year’s College Football Playoff, despite a wealth of inexperience and an out of conference schedule that includes travelling to Norman to play No. 3 Oklahoma. Still, the Buckeyes have a fair shot at making the playoff and, ultimately, earning their second national title in three years.

For starters, the Buckeyes are still an extremely talented team. Despite an inordinate amount of players lost to the NFL, Urban Meyer is the best recruiter in the Big Ten and has been able to reload every year. While the incoming players will certainly be inexperienced on the college stage, they will still bring a wealth of needed talent to the team. And while questions abound on the offensive side of the ball in terms of skill position players (with the exception of J.T. Barrett at quarterback), the defense actually returns several of its top performers from last season. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan is one of the top defensive players in the conference and, perhaps, the nation, and defensive endTyquan Lewis actually led the Buckeyes in sacks last season. Combined with experienced backups from last season, including defensive end Sam Hubbard, the Buckeyes should be able to get back to peak performance quickly this year.

Despite the early road game against Oklahoma, Ohio State’s schedule is more manageable than it might seem at first glance. While the Buckeyes will have to face Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State on the road, Wisconsin and Michigan State are both going through serious rebuilding and Penn State still has some growing to do under James Franklin. And the final game of the season against Michigan--who is ranked just behind the Buckeyes in the AP Poll--is still going to be in Columbus, and will give the young team time to grow before facing off.