After recent events, a lot of Ohio State fans would probably be happy to never hear about NIL again. It was quite obvious that highly touted quarterback Quinn Ewers reclassified over the summer to take advantage of the new name, image, and likeness benefits that have gone into effect over the last year. Props to Ewers, he got a bunch of coin to sit on the bench in Columbus before heading back to Texas.
For those that are against NIL, too bad because it is here to stay. For every situation like Ewers, there are hundreds of NIL deals that aren’t scrutinized nearly as heavily because they do actually help out student athletes, whether it personally helps the student athletes, or it might allow the student athletes to put it to charitable use. Then there are other NIL deals that are just hilarious. We’ll get into both of these types in a few minutes.
Today’s question? What is your favorite NIL deal so far for an Ohio State student athlete?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: Harry Miller’s M4N store
While NIL deals for fast food restaurants, car dealerships, and soft drink companies generate the most headlines, there are some parts of NIL that are overlooked.
100% of the profits from my store will support my nonprofit, M4N, to provide education, food, medicine, therapy and discipleship for the kids at our school in Los Brasiles, Nicaragua.— Harry Miller (@h_miller76) July 2, 2021
Hurry! Only open for two weeks!
Thanks for your support @OhioStateFBhttps://t.co/PmTQ0PnggM
The Ohio State offensive line created a limited time online store to sell apparel with his personal logo on it. After the store was open for a couple weeks, Miller sold 200 items, raising over $1,000 for M4N, which is also known as Mission For Nicaragua. M4N is a non-profit that is designed to provide items to kids in Nicaragua, which is a country that Miller has made mission trips to annually.
Miller’s dedication to M4N also caught the attention of Allstate, who was named to Allstate’s AFCA Good Works Team, which earned M4N a $10,000 donation. In my opinion this is one of the best uses of NIL, especially considering the negative opinion that many had of NIL before they actually saw it in action. A lot of people probably expected student athletes to just blow any NIL money that they would have earned, but there are many putting their money to good use and helping those that are in need.
Meredith’s answer: RBs for Arby’s
While there is a single thing on the Arby’s menu that I personally find appealing (curly fries, anyone?), the fast food chain’s NIL deals focused on running backs — get it? RBs for Arbys — is pretty clever. In short, running backs in FBS programs get $500 for posting a video on Twitter promoting Arby’s.
One of the cool components of this sponsorship is that it is not limited to solely the top player on a given team or position group. Rather, Arby’s offered the deal to 200 Division ! (FBS) running backs. This democratization of the sponsorship means a broader net for Arby’s message. It’s also unique compared to other NIL deals, which, though perhaps of higher value, don’t capitalize on position groups nationally or build as broad a reach. This sponsorship is particularly relevant to Buckeye Nation as well. Ohio State’s favorite true freshman TreVeyon Henderson was part of Arby’s first round of running backs to be sponsored.
The idea itself is cute and it’s catchy. While it’s challenging to measure the effectiveness of a given sponsorship, $100,000 spread across up to 200 players/schools means a huge potential bang for the sponsorship buck, especially for a national chain.
Moreover, the sponsorship centers on running backs leveraging their own networks to promote the sponsorship, mainly by posting a video on Twitter featuring them saying “tonight, I’m getting Arby’s!” It’s an easy and open way for running backs to leverage the new NIL rules and capitalize on their own name, image and likeness.
As a close second, I’m also in love with Petsmart’s partnership with Arkansas wide receiver Trey Knox and his dog, Blue, because how could we not?