Last week, it was reported that Ryan Day informed the Columbus business community that the annual amount of NIL money it would take to keep Ohio State among the college football elite was $13 million.
Far below the $30 million figure that was attributed to Texas A&M's 2022 recruiting class, an Internet post that eventually lit the entire college football world aflame, Day said $13 million was the going rate of recruiting a top-5 class and, crucially, keeping a top-5 roster out of the Transfer Portal.
And now that the $13 million figure is out there, James Franklin wants his own $13 million payroll.
"If School X has a number, and we're supposed to be competing with School X, why would our number be different?" he asked in a media availability on Wednesday.
It can tough to wrap your mind around, the idea that a college football roster that, until 2021, required $0 outside investment now risks crumbling without eight figures worth of annual investment.
Franklin responded, essentially, with a shrug. The cost of doing business is the cost of doing business. He compared acquiring college football talent with the real-estate market, which has also run amok over the past couple years.
"The market determines the value of your house."
Franklin is 1-7 thus far against Ohio State. There was a 3-year stretch in which Franklin's Nittany Lions played the Buckeyes to a virtual draw: a 24-21 win en route to a Big Ten title in 2016, followed by 1-point losses in 2017 and '18. But Penn State has not kept pace over the past three years, falling by 11, 13 and nine points. After an 11-2 season, a Cotton Bowl victory and an AP Top 10 finish in 2019, Penn State is 11-11 over its past two seasons.
So it sounds like Penn State's business community will need to pony up more than $13 million to close the gap with the folks in Columbus.