Presser Bullets: Gene Smith Doesn't Feel Urgent Need to Restructure Ryan Day's Contract, Prefers Ohio State Not Host CFP Games in Bad Weather

By Griffin Strom on February 16, 2022 at 12:29 pm

It had been a while since Gene Smith got in front of the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

The Ohio State athletic director held a press conference Wednesday to address a litany of topics pertaining to Buckeye sports, the Big Ten and college athletics in general. Smith discussed the ever-changing landscape of the college sports model, name, image and likeness regulations, College Football Playoff expansion and the potential to reshape football divisions in the Big Ten.

Smith also talked about Ryan Day's contract, which he said he doesn't feel a sense of urgency to restructure, as well as ticket prices for football games and whether or not Ohio State could host CFP games in the future, among other things.

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of everything Smith spoke about on Wednesday.

Gene Smith

  • Smith says "our landscape is changing significantly" due to NIL, among other things. Smith says he had a meeting with the football team this morning about NIL issues. Smith says "the conversations around pay for play are always there."
  • "It's gonna be a whole new ballgame moving forward. ... We have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and adjust and make sure we keep our core values at the heart of what we do."
  • On NIL regulations, Smith is "hopeful at some time that we get federal legislation. I don't think the NCAA is the answer." Smith says "every day there's something new that you hear about or read about."
  • On Big Ten division restructuring, Smith says the conference ADs haven't come to any conclusions just yet. Smith says they will have a meeting in May to finalize their thoughts. "I personally don't have a preference, I'm OK with losing divisions, but I'm interested in seeing the models first."
  • Smith says Ohio State's NIL Edge Team is a "connector" for athletes and potential deal opportunities.
  • Smith on Ryan Day: "He and Nina are very happy here. ... He's very comfortable here." Smith says there will "possibly" be a contract issue down the road with Day, but says the pair have not discussed that yet.
  • Smith says he doesn't feel an urgency to restructure Day's contract at the moment. "I have always tried to make sure we compensate consistent with expectations and performance."
  • On how long he wants to do this job, Smith says "I just go year to year. ... When the time comes, I'll know."
  • On CFP expansion: "I'd be surprised if we don't go to 12 at some point."
  • On the potential for Ohio State to host a CFP game, Smiths says "I would probably recommend that we go to Indianapolis. ... I want a clean environment. I would prefer to have the indoor elements and have a clean field."
  • Smith jokes that he "voted for the paisley field" when selecting Ohio State's new turf design at Ohio Stadium.
  • Smith says it's "warming" that players like TreVeyon Henderson can see their lives changes by NIL opportunities.
  • Smith says "we would only (play in Indianapolis for a CFP game) because of the weather." Smith says it might be a year-to-year situation, and that a CFP expansion would bring into question how important a conference title game is.
  • On Chris Holtmann's contract, Smith says he hasn't looked at it, but will sit down with Holtmann at some point in the future. Smith says Holtmann's recruiting has been "off the chain" as of late, and that he loves the "teaching" that Holtmann does.
  • Smith says he has "no concerns" with the leadership of the Big Ten Conference with Kevin Warren as the commissioner. Smith says ahead of the 2020 season, though, "there was some street fighting going on."
  • Smith on the Michigan loss: "Our expectation is every year to win that game. So how do we respond?" Smith says he wanted to help Day fix things in the program following the Michigan loss, and that making changes on defense was a top priority.
  • Smith says there were "so many puppies" on the Ohio State roster this past season.
  • Smith says there haven't been discussions about having a formal class for student-athletes about NIL.
  • Smith says the Buckeyes will put the new turf in at Ohio Stadium this summer, and that there won't necessarily be many new things in the stadium beyond that next year.
  • "We're trying to help them understand, when you leave our little cocoon, you need to have a job. Because that's why you go to college, to find a career."
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