Ohio State announces NIL partnership with Opendorse

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
The Ohio State University athletic department logo, 2017. [provided by OSU]

With legislation officially proposed to allow Ohio student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, Ohio State has announced a platform for its members to utilize.

It’s called “THE Platform,” and it will provide resources and education to allow Buckeyes to capitalize on their ability to make money for themselves by working with Opendorse Ready + Darlow Rules. The partnership will give student-athletes a custom assessment of the current worth of their individual brand as well as opportunities to enhance the financial value.

“The Opendorse program is going to provide a unique opportunity for our student-athletes to maximize their brand value and exposure,” Ohio State football coach Ryan Day said in a statement. “With Columbus being the No. 1 city in America for job growth and Ohio State being No. 1 in social media presence across all platforms, we are excited to work with Opendorse.”

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The announcement comes one day after a news conference at Ohio State announcing a bill that, if approved, would allow student-athletes to profit off their NIL rights starting July 1. It’s also partially the culmination of an athletic department-wide process that began months ago at the university as Ohio State has been in talks seeking the right partnership for its student-athletes.

According to a news release, the partnership will include live consultation with industry leaders and on-demand access to a video series on topics including brand building, monetization, and financial literacy created by brands such as Twitter, Instagram, The Players’ Tribune and Overtime.

“We are thrilled to offer our student-athletes Opendorse Ready + Darlow Rules,” senior associate athletic director Carey Hoyt said. “We went through an extensive review of the companies offering NIL services and are confident we will provide our student-athletes with cutting-edge technology and the resources to maximize their NIL earning potential.”

Opendorse will be administered through the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute. The program will also collaborate with Ohio State’s Center for Innovation Strategies, part of the Fisher College of Business.

Each student-athlete will take part in five educational sessions this June to prepare, the first of which will be a live session with marketing expert Jeremy Darlow.

“(Extremely) excited about the opportunities this partnership will open for our current and future student-athletes...” Ohio State women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff wrote on Twitter.

Ohio State isn’t unique in finding opportunities to assist its student-athletes with the changing times. Purdue began using a platform called EMPOWER last week, while Nebraska was the first school to partner with Opendorse when it announced its decision in March, 2020.

“THE Platform may not be the first program announced in college sports, but I fully expect it to set a standard of its own,” Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said. “I’m incredibly proud to introduce Opendorse to Ohio State Athletics and empower Buckeye student-athletes to develop the skills to succeed today and long beyond their time on campus.”