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If Ohio State Is Being Asked for $5,000 Just for a Visit, James Franklin Notes Penn State Probably Is Too

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith made waves last week when he testified before Congress that it is not unusual for potential recruits to ask for upwards of $5,000 for an official visit to even take place, largely in the wake of new rules allowing college athletes to make money from their name, image and likeness (NIL). Smith was testifying in part of the House Committee on Small Business’ inquiry into the impact of NIL.

“…[S]tudent-athletes and their parents visit campuses at the expense of those universities to evaluate where they may make a commitment. A practice of asking a school for a fee to simply visit campus has emerged; asking for $5,000 just to visit has become common. During visits, discussions now emerge regarding how much a student-athlete can expect from NIL.” Smith wrote in his testimony.

Asked to address the same topic and Smith’s claims a week later, Penn State coach James Franklin echoed what he had said before: If this is the case for schools like Ohio State, it almost certainly is the same for schools and programs like Penn State.

“As you can probably imagine, it’s kind of like we had the discussion … maybe it was a year ago when something came out from that school, as well, and they talked about a number, and you guys like wanted to know if my number was similar, and I said, ‘Well, why would my number not be similar?’ People seemed shocked by that,” Franklin said. “Yeah, as you can imagine, the schools that you’re mentioning, we’re all dealing with the same challenges and issues. We all are. So yeah, sometimes I think things are said publicly that maybe you guys weren’t aware of before. We’re all dealing with the same challenges and issues because most of us are all recruiting the same guys. That’s about as far as I’ll get into that and then talk about Northwestern.”

Franklin was referencing a comment by Ohio State coach Ryan Day, who noted that the Buckeyes needed an NIL payroll of around $13 million to retain its current roster on an annual basis in the face of NIL offers and transfer portal opportunities. At the time, in June 2022, Franklin was asked to address that number.

“If School X has a number, and we’re supposed to be competing with School X, why would our number be different?” Franklin said at the time.