Heartland BancCorp signs Ohio State stars Haskell Garrett, E.J. Liddell to name, image, likeness deals

Mark Williams
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett has struck a marketing deal with Heartland BancCorp under new rules that allow college athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

Heartland BancCorp has struck marketing deals with two of Ohio State University's biggest stars under new rules that allow college athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

Football defensive tackle Haskell Garrett and basketball forward E.J. Liddell will be promoting the Whitehall-based bank's campaign called "Relationships Matter: Bank on Community Banking" that touts the advantages of community banks. 

They are the first athletes the bank has signed since athletes became allowed to do such deals this summer.

"It's the Wild West right now. All kinds of folks are doing it for different reasons, different causes," said G. Scott McComb, the bank's chairman, president and CEO.

The bank, already an Ohio State sponsor, plans to use Garrett and Liddell in social media, television and radio advertising, as well as personal appearances at high schools and community and business events, he said. Social media will begin immediately while it may take a couple of weeks before the two start appearing on other platforms, he said.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

"We're going to be dipping our toe in the water as appropriate. We will start with these two," McComb said.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order in June allowing college student-athletes to capitalize on their name, image and likeness. His order came after lawmakers couldn't agree on legislation to do it.

“The relationship I am building with Heartland Bank is very similar to how they do business in the community,” Garrett said in a statement. “It’s very personal, impactful, and important. I couldn’t ask for a better bank to represent in the great state of Ohio.”

Garrett is a preseason All-American who used the extra eligibility granted by the NCAA to players amid the coronavirus pandemic to return for his fifth season. He will be one of the football team's captains this fall.

The Heartland campaign touts the value of financial education and reaches out to the underbanked and the region's young consumers about the importance of establishing a banking relationship at a young age.

"The earlier you have one of these relationships, the better off you'll be," McComb said.

Garrett and Liddell will be quality spokesmen for the bank to carry out that message and why people should bank with Heartland, he said.

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell will be promoting Heartland BancCorp's campaign called "Relationships Matter: Bank on Community Banking."

 “I’m happy to have partnered with such a family-oriented bank," Liddell, a first-team all-Big Ten forward, said in a statement. "Being a family-oriented guy myself, it made me feel as if I was joining another big family who cares about me as a person and as a customer. I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”

Heartland operates 18 full-service banking offices, 15 of them in central Ohio, and TransCounty Title Agency.



Get more Ohio State news by listening to our podcasts