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CJ Stroud Writes a Large Check to Ohio State’s NIL Collective Amid a Big Offseason For the Buckeyes

  • CJ Stroud donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to Ohio State’s NIL collective.
  • He’s part of a growing trend of former athletes contributing to collectives.
CJ Stroud
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans quarterback CJ Stroud has given between $50,000 and $100,000 to his alma mater’s NIL collective.

Ohio State’s THE Foundation collective tweeted Monday that Stroud, two days after his season ended in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, has become the group’s “first former student athlete partner to become a major donor.” He is listed as a “platinum donor,” the second highest bracket for the collective’s supporters. The collective is cofounded by another former Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones.

Ohio State has had quite an offseason, largely thanks to the collective’s efforts to attract top players. The program landed transfers, including Alabama recruits quarterback Julian Sayin, safety Caleb Downs, and center Seth McLaughlin, Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins, and Kansas State quarterback Will Howard. Several potential NFL draft picks have also announced they will return to Columbus. The team also announced Monday new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, formerly of the New England Patriots.

The donation from Stroud, who signed a four-year, $36 million rookie contract with the Texans in July, could attract even more talent for next year’s team.

Support for collectives from former student-athletes isn’t entirely new. Many of the people who run or donate to collectives are former student-athletes. Notably, Drew Brees joined the executive board of a Purdue University collective, and WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu holds a position at the University of Oregon’s collective.

But, Stroud’s notoriety and big check show collectives’ growing power and influence over athletic departments. It could spark a trend of financial support from high-profile former athletes—making collectives even more important.

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