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Former Ohio State president says 'three to four' Buckeyes could benefit from name, image, likeness payments

Michael V. Drake formally retired as Ohio State's president on Tuesday, and he spent the first day of retirement doing the most college president thing possible -- talking to Congress about NCAA regulations.

Drake was part of a contingent of College Sports, Inc., leaders who spent Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at once begging lawmakers to bail them out of a self-induced grass fire of state-by-state legislation across the country, while at the same time trying to dictate the terms of legislation they'd like Congress to write.

With D-Day now one year away -- that's when Florida's own name, image and likeness law goes into effect -- college sports leaders spent much of the day trotting out the same talking points that got them in the position they're in today: that NIL payments will take away opportunities for women, that it will be bad for athletes' academic ambitions, that agents will spoil the whole thing before it even begins.

Drake joined the fray by adding a doozy of a claim:

A quick review of Ohio State's 2019 roster finds the following players:

-- Quarterback Justin Fields, a former 5-star recruit and Heisman Trophy finalist
-- Defensive end Chase Young, a future No. 2 overall pick and Heisman Trophy finalist
-- Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, a former 5-star recruit and future
-- Running back J.K. Dobbins, a 2,000-yard rusher and a First Team All-American

If those are the four players Drake estimates would have value on the open market, he implies the of the Ohio State roster -- which include players like 5-star receiver Garrett Wilson, 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning, 5-star defensive back Shaun Wade, on and on it goes -- would have zero value on the open market.

Does this past the smell test for anyone?

You know better, I know better, and Drake especially should know better, considering his predecessor, Gordon Gee, was swept up in Tattoogate -- a 2010 scandal where a number of Ohio State players were caught trading official team memorabilia for free tattoos. And what was that number exactly?

It was five.

Of course, such activity will more than likely be perfectly permissible by this time next year, but in 2010 it was a major scandal. Then-Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates were suspended from the Sugar Bowl and the first four games of the 2011 season; the NFL actually carried Pryor's suspension onward from the NCAA.

"No. Are you kidding?" Gee said when asked in March 2011 if he ever considered firing then-Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel over Tattoogate. "Let me just be very clear. I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me." (Gee stepped down in 2013; Drake replaced him the following year.)

A decade later, the tables have completely turned. Soon, the head coach at Ohio State is far more likely to be fired if too few Buckeyes are trading their status as Ohio State football players for extra benefits, rather than too many.

We won't know what the final, real-world numbers will look like until the rules are officially changed and the market has a chance to do its thing.

But precedent tells us the actual numbers will be a lot greater than "three to four."