COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — One year ago, Brian Schottenstein and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones teamed up to launch The Foundation, a name, image and likeness collective for Buckeye football and basketball student athletes.
On April 20, just over a year after launching The Foundation, they’ll host a spring festival featuring football coach Ryan Day, basketball coach Chris Holtmann and about 30 Buckeyes.
“It’s really amazing what we’ve done in one year,” Schottenstein said. “When I started this I just never really thought it would take off this much.”
100% of the proceeds from the event at the Schottenstein Center will go to the student athletes. Seats can be reserved over at The Foundation website with single tickets going for $125 dollars and tables running $10,000. A table will get event goers nine tickets, seats next to a student athlete, a picture with both Day and Holtmann and company or brand recognition at the event.
The approximately 35 student athletes who partner with The Foundation have an NIL valuation of more than $7 million, according to On 3.
“We need to be in the $6 or $7 million bracket to retain these other kids that we have grown and are ready to grow,” said Bill Lewis, The Foundation’s general manager of basketball.
To do that, Lewis and former Buckeye basketball standout Ron Stokes consolidated their O Foundation with The Foundation. Their upcoming spring festival is a big way to help Buckeyes get paid.
“That’s big and so many people are starting to embrace and understand how important that’s going to be to the future of Ohio State football,” Ryan Day said.
The spring festival is a chance for Buckeye fans to show they understand the bottom line.
“We’ve got to give money,” Lewis said. “If we don’t give money, we’re not going to be in the hunt to be a great university or team.”
In return for getting paid, student athletes will provide charitable work because The Foundation is a non profit organization. For OSU defensive end and Pickerington native Jack Sawyer, that’s important for his personal brand.
“You know I’ve learned a lot,” sawyer said. “I’ve learned a lot about business, how to take care of money, people to trust, so I think NIL’s been great for us athletes.”
“We’re teaching them about branding and marketing and contracts and business, so they’re really learning a lot of everyday life skills that they wouldn’t get in the classroom,” Schottenstein said.
This is the second event of its kind. This past August, donors gathered at The Blackwell Inn where hundreds of thousands of dollars were donated for Buckeyes.
“We’ll have a similar event this time but way more fun and way bigger, so it’s not just like a normal fundraiser,” Schottenstein said. “We want this to be something where the fans leave and say ‘This is the best Buckeye event I’ve ever been to and I’m so glad to support The Foundation.'”