Compared to the cost of running an NFL team, Ohio State football might be a bargain.
According to Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises, Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day told local businesspeople in Columbus that $13 million in name, image and likeness deals might be the cost for the program to retain the players on its roster.
It's not just that the NIL era has put a price tag on the best high school recruits in the country. The one-time transfer rule means schools also have to placate their top stars.
Using Day's valuation, Lesmerises speculated OSU looking for an average of $500,000 for its 26 best players or some calculation to that degree.
Per Lesmerises, Day also told the local business leaders how $2 million might be the going rate for an elite quarterback, while top-tier offensive tackles and edge-rushers could command $1 million.
In general, Day pressed the need for Ohio State to balance its NIL priorities.
"If the speed limit’s 45 mph, and you drive 45 mph, a lot of people are going to pass you by,” he said. “If you go too fast, you’re going to get pulled over."
While he specifically targeted a conference rival in the process, this was the basic subtext Nick Saban wanted to get across when he said Texas A&M "bought every player on their team."
The Alabama head coach had a similar audience (local businesspeople) when he made those remarks and was clearly trying to express how important NIL money will be.
"We didn't buy one player, all right?" Saban said to the group. "But I don't know if we're gonna be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it. It's tough."
Because the full details of NIL deals aren't disclosed, it's difficult to know how accurate Day's projection is. Lesmerises noted the $13 million figure goes beyond what's raised by the collectives specific to OSU football.
The NIL landscape still resembles the Wild West a bit as all of the parties adjust to the new normal. For Day and his peers, getting a level of buy-in from the booster base has never been more important.