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NCAA unanimously allows athletes to benefit from their likeness

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Ohio State president Michael Drake chairs the Board of Governors, which made its recommendation today.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“In the Association’s continuing efforts to support college athletes, the NCAA’s top governing board voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

-NCAA press release

Well, that was much faster than anticipated. Only a few weeks after California’s landmark bill was signed into law, the NCAA has also decided to allow college athletes to profit of their own likeness. They capitulated much quicker than I could have ever imagined, but that’s totally fine. The press release mentions that, “The board asked each division to create any new rules beginning immediately, but no later than January 2021,” which means that the new era of the NCAA may begin sooner than once thought.

OSU President Michael Drake is also the chair of the Board of Governors that put this plan into action, and will being attempting to modernize the NCAA’s rule-set as soon as possible. However, the press release also has a long list of guidelines that they must work through, and getting through them all seems like a tall task.

The press release doesn’t give too many specific details, which some see as a concern that this is all an empty gesture. Trying to be positive, I think it’s just in the very early stages, and the fact that the NCAA ruled on this so quickly at all is a good sign. Personally, I was doubtful they would move on the issue until 2023, which was the original deadline set by the California bill.

The National College Players Association (which itself doesn’t seem to be the most high-profile organization for a couple reasons) has basically condemned the press release, saying that it is simply a stalling tactic by the NCAA and means nothing.

There probably won’t be a quick resolution to this problem, but it’s shaping up to be one of the most important rulings in NCAA history. I suppose that makes it alright for it to take some time. How it affects the Ohio State University — and especially how it could affect recruiting — could have multiple articles written on it, so keep your eyes here as events unfold in this landmark case.

In a move that should surprise no one, J.K. Dobbins was quick to thank his offense line after becoming the first Buckeye in Ohio State’s storied history to run for over 1,000 yards in his first three seasons. He had another ridiculous performance on Saturday, dominating Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense to the tune of 163 yards and two touchdowns on the grond.

Dobbins has always been extremely humble, and always shouts out his offensive line whenever he possibly can. Dobbins said to Bucknuts after the game, “Oh, yeah. Those are my guys. We hang out a lot, not just going out to dinner. They’re like my brothers. So I love every single one of them. We’re going to keep getting better and we’ll see what we got planned coming up.”

The offensive line was certainly opening up massive holes for Dobbins, which he took advantage of, but also showed why he is cementing himself as the best running back in college football right now with highlight after highlight of spins, jukes and devastating stiff arms against Wisconsin.

If Chase Young and Justin Fields weren’t doing so well, there is no doubt that Dobbins would be much higher in the Heisman Trophy conversation. He took out the other RB candidate in Johnathan Taylor on Saturday, and his numbers so far this season are staggering. He has 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns with at least five more games, and as many as seven, on the season.

Dobbins is chasing a couple more records that Buckeye fans should be watching out for. He’s fourth on the career rushing yards list, behind only Eddie George, Ezekiel Elliott and Archie Griffin. While Griffin is pretty much un-catchable this season, Dobbins only needs 400 yards to pass Elliott for second, and the way that the line and RB have been playing, it would be shocking to not see Dobbins end up in the No. 2 spot by the end of the year.

Dobbins should also break into the single-season rushing yards list this year. He only needs 374 to bump Pepe Pearson for the No. 10 spot. Past that, it becomes a bit murkier. OSU has four more regular season games left to play. Add in the Big Ten Championship game, and then hopefully two more College Football Playoff games could give Goddins seven more chances to climb his way up.

If we conservatively give Dobbins 100 yards per game in those seven contests (and it is conservative considering he’s averaging 138 yards right now) he’ll have 1,810 for the year, good for fourth, right behind Ezekiel Elliott in 2015. If he keeps up his current pace, he will end with over 2,000 yards and take the top spot.

Dobbins has a legitimate shot to be the best running back OSU has ever had, so make sure to appreciate what you’re seeing folks.

“A few Buckeyes could be picking up some hardware at the end of the season as a trio of Ohio State players (Justin Fields, Jeff Okudah and Chase Young) are named semifinalists for major postseason awards.”

- Kevin Harrish of Eleven Warriors

In addition to the awards that were previously reported here on LGHL, a few more semifinalist lists for some of NCAA’s biggest awards were released today. Maxwell Football Club released their semifinalists for their biggest awards, the Maxwell and the Bednarik. The Maxwell is their version of the Heisman, which means it is given to the best player in college football.

Chase Young and Justin Fields both made it on, so OSU is one of only three schools (along with Alabama and LSU) to have multiple players make the exclusive list. Fields has been outstanding, with 33 total touchdowns to one interception, 1,659 yards passing and another 319 on the ground. Young also needs no introduction; after his dominating display against Wisconsin, he has been the talk of the town and every OSU site, including this one, has multiple articles detailing his greatness this week.

Chase Young and Jeff Okudah have also been tapped as Bednarik Award semifinalists, which honors the game’s best defensive player. Once again, the Buckeyes are one of only three schools to land two players on the list, this time along with Oklahoma and Penn State.

Okudah has been relatively quiet stats wise since the Nebraska game, but honestly that’s the best indication of cornerback quality there is. After all, if the best opposing wide receiver is so blanketed by Okudah that the quarterback can’t even think about throwing to him, it’s tough for Okudah to rack up numbers.

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