Real Pod Wednesdays: Gene Smith Discusses Ohio State Sports, the State of College Athletics and the Big Ten’s New TV Deal

By Dan Hope and Griffin Strom on June 7, 2023 at 8:35 am
Gene Smith

With Ohio State’s 2022-23 year in sports just about complete and a new year of Buckeye sports just a few months away, we decided it was the perfect time to sit down with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith to talk about the hottest topics in Ohio State sports, college athletics as a whole and the Big Ten.

In a 30-minute conversation with Smith to begin this week’s Real Pod Wednesdays, we talk to Ohio State’s athletic director about his expectations for the Buckeye football and basketball programs, how Ohio State is adapting to NIL and why he still wants federal legislation, why Ohio State has no plans to switch back to grass in Ohio Stadium, how the Buckeyes are adapting to the Big Ten’s new TV deal and much more.

The full rundown of our conversation with Smith:

  • 0:36: Smith’s overall thoughts on the 2022-23 year in Ohio State sports
  • 1:42: Why Smith hasn’t talked specifically with Ryan Day about beating Michigan
  • 4:08: Why Smith is confident Ohio State’s quarterback success will continue
  • 6:00: Why Smith still believes Chris Holtmann is the right coach for Ohio State men’s basketball
  • 7:59: Smith expects Ohio State men’s basketball to be “in the hunt”
  • 9:52: How Ohio State can capitalize on the increasing popularity of women’s basketball/sports
  • 11:09: Why Smith remains hopeful about federal NIL legislation
  • 12:30: Why Smith believes Ohio State is in a “much better” position with NIL than it was early
  • 15:38: How Ohio State is preparing for possible changes to the college athletics model
  • 18:06: Why Ohio State has no plans to change Ohio Stadium’s field back to grass
  • 22:04: What the Big Ten’s new TV partners will bring to the conference
  • 23:30: Why this will be the only year Ohio State plays a mid-November home night game
  • 26:11: The impact of some Big Ten games being only on Peacock
  • 27:45: Smith sees new commissioner Tony Pettiti as “outstanding leader” for Big Ten
  • 28:32: The Big Ten’s criteria for expansion candidates and why B1G isn’t looking to expand again yet
  • 30:29: How Ohio State is preparing for a changing future while staying in the present
  • 31:49: Highlighting the academic achievements of Ohio State athletes

In the second half of this week’s show, we react to what we heard from Smith, plus we talk about the game times for Ohio State football that were announced last week and what Ryan Day had to say during his recent appearance on Chris Holtmann’s podcast.

  • 33:07: November night game issue could be a moot point once USC and UCLA join the Big Ten
  • 36:14: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia are likelier B1G expansion targets than Washington, Oregon
  • 40:21: We don’t know how college athletics will change next, but OSU is preparing accordingly
  • 44:23: It seems like it’s only a matter of time before college athletes get a direct cut of the revenue
  • 48:16: The narrative would be different if Ohio State beat Georgia, but The Game will always matter
  • 51:35: The NCAA Tournament sounds like the benchmark for Ohio State basketball this year
  • 53:58: Smith’s case for turf in the Shoe makes sense, but the question will be asked again if injuries hit
  • 56:30: We‘re very glad the Youngstown State won’t be a night game (or on Peacock)
  • 1:00:45: Day recognizes a need to prepare more specifically than philosophically for Michigan
  • 1:04:18: It’s not shocking Day sees NIL and the transfer portal as the most difficult parts of his job
  • 1:06:52: Day has made Ohio State more player-friendly, but he’ll ultimately be judged on results

You can listen to the entirety of this week’s Real Pod Wednesdays in the audio player at the top of the page or on a variety of podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.