We knew NIL would change the game in college sports, especially at the big schools, especially for the big-time recruits.
We're once again learning just how much.
While it's not surprising to see guys like Alabama starting quarterback Bryce Young rake in big deals (nearly seven figures, according to Nick Saban), what is a little shocking is just how big the market is for a guy like Quinn Ewers. Yes, he was once the top-rated high school quarterback in America. But right now, he's just the fourth string quarterback at Ohio State.
Still, that hasn't stopped sponsors from lining up to get his signature, with the latest coming on Tuesday. According to Darren Rovell, he has signed a deal for over $1 million for exclusivity in the autograph space.
Look, on the one hand, we all like NIL. Let kids get their cash. Not only does it help their families, but could help their futures, if their pro careers don't pan out. Not to mention, in some ways, it kind of makes sense for this autograph company. If Ewers say, wins the starting job next year, keeps it for two years and leads Ohio State to a couple Big Ten titles or a national championship, that deal will seemingly pay for itself.
At the same time, those are an awful lot of "if's" and $1 million seems like an awfully steep price to pay, for a guy that is, as mentioned above, currently fourth on Ohio State's depth chart. Beyond that, the guy who just won the job - CJ Stroud - is also a freshman, meaning it's not like there is a clear, easy path to playing time for Ewers anytime soon. Ewers could obviously one day beat Stroud out for the job, but if Stroud balls out, there is also no guarantee. Even if Ewers transfers somewhere else, is autograph exclusivity for a non-Ohio State quarterback really worth a million dollars?
In the end, it's not my place to tell any company where to spend its money. Nor is it my place to tell people to turn down money (if it were my son, I'd have him sign the deal in a heartbeat.
All I'm saying is, this isn't Johnny Manziel after his Heisman year, or even say Trevor Lawrence arriving at Clemson, with a clear path to the job his second season on campus (not that it mattered, he ended up winning it four games into his freshman year).
It just feels like an awful lot of money, for such an unproven commodity.
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