Ohio State Football General Manager Explains How Recruits Asking For Big NIL Money Caused Shift In Focus

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Money has always played a role in recruiting across college football, but NIL takes things to a whole new level. When the NCAA passed its “interim” bylaws on Name, Image and Likeness on July 1, 2021, it changed the landscape of collegiate athletics forever.

Where relatively small amounts of money used to exchange hands under the table during the recruitment process, lucrative financial deals are being signed in broad daylight. It’s legal.

Jaden Rashada’s wild journey is the perfect example of the modern era.

As is Tennessee’s five-star freshman Nico Iamaleava. Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed serves as a great example of how NIL also plays a role in the transfer portal.

All of this goes to say that money is more prevalent than ever. It has led to a lot of frustration amongst coaches across the country.

NIL also caused programs to shift their recruiting approach.

Mark Pantoni, who serves as the general manager of Ohio State’s football program, spoke to how the Buckeyes have changed their approach in an interview with Dave Biddle of 247 Sports. He said that NIL has led his program to look closer to Columbus and mentioned how recruits who primarily seek big financial packages will not get as much attention.

Yeah, definitely a new mindset of how we’re going to have to approach things during this time. So, obviously, way more heavy in Ohio and in the Midwest. And then regionally, you know, we’re going to do our best as we’ve always have. But we may have to pull out of recruiting some guys nationally, quicker than we would have if we know right away that NIL is going to be a main factor in the recruitments. You know, it’s just probably not something we’re going to want to end up being able to compete with, by choice as well. Is that something we want to bring into the locker room as well? So, those are the conversations we have in this day.

— Mark Pantoni, via Bucknuts

Pantoni also discussed how Name, Image and Likeness at Ohio State is being concentrated toward retention. Back in June, head coach Ryan Day pleaded local businesses for eight-figure money to try and keep his players from transferring.

Ohio State’s NIL focus remains internal.

Pantoni said that NIL funds in/around the Buckeyes program are being used to keep the current roster in tact.

Our current team and our current retention is what NIL is for. Guys that have really earned their namesake through their play on the field. And now with their name, image and likeness, they’re able to capitalize on that.

— Mark Pantoni, via Bucknuts

All of the NIL money is being spent on athletes who already committed. That makes it difficult to offer lucrative opportunities to recruits. A lack of NIL for recruits caused Pantoni to reevaluate how his program approaches recruiting. It all comes full circle.

The full interview with Pantoni can be found here.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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