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Column: How THE Platform, NIL could benefit those with surprising social media followings

With the proposed legislation to allow student-athletes to make money off of their NIL, what could this mean for those that have already developed their #brand?

@OhioStAthletics Twitter

Let the controversy begin! I know there are many different opinions on the topic of college athletes getting paid (I keep going back and forth on it personally), but legislation was officially proposed yesterday for student-athletes in the state of Ohio to be able to make money off of their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

One reason that some people have concern over student-athletes getting paid is the fact that they would never receive equal amounts of money across all teams and sports — obviously the star QB is going to get paid more than the women’s field hockey player.

While I do understand that that’s just the way that the world works — football garners more attention than women’s field hockey, and in turn can bring in more money — I feel bad for the lesser known athletes, because they work just as hard as the ones in the spotlight, but they won’t receive the same compensation.

However, with the announcement today that Ohio State will be partnering with Opendorse to “provide Ohio State student-athletes with education and resource opportunities to capitalize on their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL),” this does give all student-athletes an opportunity to cash in on the proposed changes.

It’s not like OSU just granted permission for these athletes to make money and told them to have at it and figure it out on their own. This program, creatively tagged as “THE Platform,” gives student-athletes a deeper understanding into what NIL can mean for them, creates an individualized analysis for each student athlete’s social media presence, and helps them build their brand (and NIL revenue) while still a student.

With the focus on social media reach, this is could become a really valuable resource that helps ALL student athletes maximize their income, and gives everyone a fair opportunity to earn money while still competing for the Scarlet and Gray.

Alright, since we now know what THE Platform is designed to do, let’s have a little fun and pick out a few student-athletes who could substantially benefit off of their NIL, primarily based off of their already existing social media presences.

One name that you might not immediately think of is Mitchell Pehlke. The sophomore men’s lacrosse player has created a pretty substantial social media following: over 14,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, 500,000 likes on TikTok, and 15,000 followers on his Instagram — not bad for a full-time student-athlete in a non-marquee sport.

Pehlke has clearly figured out what captures his audience’s attention, and has had a lot of success in doing so. However, I would imagine that he feels pretty frustrated about spending hours upon hours editing videos and uploading posts, and not receiving any money in return — just because he plays a sport. If this new legislation passes, I could see his following substantially increase with the financial assistance that THE Platform would provide. More money + more resources = more followers.

A couple of obvious student-athletes who could probably make a lot of money with minimal effort would be Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Two of the best receivers in the nation, at the best school in the nation (no bias), and they are not particularly bad looking… any pictures they post of themselves promoting products or Columbus establishments could definitely have them raking in some serious cash.

Obviously members of the football and men’s basketball teams will have an advantage as the exposure that those two teams get from media coverage will give them a financial leg up on nearly any other Buckeye athlete,

But, with all of the lessons that THE Platform teaches about how to maximize your social media presence and make the most out of your NIL — there will be opportunities for all athletes to maximize their #brand.

Lastly, the Ohio State softball team loves to make TikToks. After some very extensive research, the player (I think) with the most followers (30,000) and likes (175,000) is Columbus’ very own Hannah Bryan.

Seriously, if Bryan and her teammates (and honestly any other athlete) consistently upload some funny posts or dancing videos, they could very easily make some good money, just based on social media exposure alone. TikTok is widely used by college athletes across the country, and I think is the best platform to make some money.

There are obviously other ways that student-athletes can make money via Ohio’s proposed NIL law, but the players who could cash in the quickest are likely the ones who have already put the time and effort into building an online following.


Do you approve of the proposed legislation that would let Ohio State student-athletes make money off of their NIL?

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