After Big Ten's massive TV deal, Ohio State QB CJ Stroud says revenue 'should be shared'
Hours after the Big Ten announced a new TV deal on Thursday, a record-setting agreement with multiple broadcast networks that will be worth billions of dollars for the league, Ohio State star quarterback C.J. Stroud expressed support for the idea of players receiving a portion of the revenue.
“I definitely think it should be shared,” Stroud said, “but if not, at the end of the day, we have the NIL space. We can do it that way. The new college world is turning around, and I’m here for it.”
Opportunities for compensation have grown over the last year with NCAA rules changes allowing players to make money from their name, image and likeness.
But limits remain. Athletes are not paid salaries by schools. Their income comes from endorsement deals struck with third-party companies and booster-led collectives that pay them for promotional work.
The benefits schools provide players include tuition, room and board and stipends to cover cost-of-living expenses as part of scholarships.
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In Stroud’s views, players deserve a larger piece of the growing financial pie.
“This game is amazing, especially the college atmosphere, because it does have amateurism to it,” Stroud said. “That’s definitely a plus. But at the same time, I’m not 100% sure what our tuition is, but I’m sure it’s not the worth of what we’re actually worth. My mom has always told me to know my worth.”
Stroud, a returning Heisman Trophy finalist who leads one of the nation’s most high-profile programs, also pointed to the time and investment players make for their sport.
“We put in so much work,” he said. “All the time that goes into it, it's definitely tough. Then you take time away from your family. I’m 2,000 miles away from home. I don’t want anybody to feel bad for me, but at the same time, it does take a lot of courage, it does take a lot of heart, to be here day in and day out.”
Big Ten revenue-sharing talks with players
The concept of revenue sharing with players got attention last month when an advocacy group known as the College Football Players Association presented it as part of a list of demands to the conference.
The Big Ten’s finalized media rights deal, which includes contracts with FOX, CBS and NBC, is reportedly worth more than $1 billion annually and runs into 2030. TV revenue is then distributed each year to member schools, which will expand to 16 when Southern California and UCLA join the league in 2024.
When asked about sharing revenue with players at the conference’s media days in Indianapolis last month, commissioner Kevin Warren said the issue would be discussed with a newly formed student-athlete advisory and advocacy committee.
“I’ve already started some dialogue with our student-athletes,” Warren said. “I want to be a great listener to figure out what is important to them. It's so easy to talk about money and share money, but what does that really mean? I want to make sure that I listen and learn to be able to have big ears and a small mouth to truly understand what's important to them.”
Warren added it’s a topic he thinks about on a “daily basis.”
Athletic director: TV money pays for player resources
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Thursday that schools pour the TV payouts into resources for players.
Smith mentioned the availability of strength and conditioning coaches, sports psychologists, nutritionists and academic counselors, among other positions in the athletic department, that benefit athletes. He referred to it as their “circle of care.”
“That's how we fund those positions,” Smith said. “That's how we fund this building. That's how we fund the new field in the stadium. That's how we fund security we need for 103,000 people in the stadium, and maybe 30,000 outside for the tailgate while the game is going on.
“So they actually already get a piece. It might not be directly in their pocket, but it's an investment in them.”
The annual operating budget for the Buckeyes’ athletic department is one of the largest within college sports, surpassing $200 million.
Ohio State athletes future benefits
Smith acknowledged benefits for athletes could expand in future years.
This fall semester will be the first time Ohio State will offer academic bonus payments to athletes. They will be eligible to earn up to $5,980 over an academic year following a unanimous decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in the NCAA v. Alston case.
“Do we do more down the road? Possibly,” Smith said. “And that will be discussed, but not in the form of pay-for-play. Otherwise, I'm out.”
Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State QB CJ Stroud: Big Ten TV money should be shared