- LeBron James and Beats by Dre teamed up to give the entire Ohio State football team Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones heading into the College Football Playoff.
- Ordinarily, players would not be permitted to accept this gift – which cost $350 per pair – but a loophole allowed the company to donate the headphones to the school without violating NCAA rules.
- The No. 2 Buckeyes will take on Trevor Lawrence and the undefeated Clemson Tigers in Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl for a spot in the national-championship game.
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LeBron James was feeling the spirit of giving this holiday season.
As a Beats by Dre spokesperson and partner and an Ohio State superfan, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar gave each player on the Buckeyes football team a pair of Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones. And thanks to a loophole, the gifts are not an NCAA violation.
Thank you @KingJames for the holiday gift of @beatsbydre, but more importantly, the motivational words that came with it ‼️ We always appreciate your support!#GoBucks #ToughLove pic.twitter.com/M3tD1lAFoO
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 27, 2019
As he did before Ohio State’s national-championship matchup against the Oregon Ducks in 2015, James facilitated a connection between Beats by Dre and the university, and the company donated the headphones to the Buckeyes program soon thereafter. The school is then permitted to distribute the headphones to the players as part of a gift package for participating in bowl games.
This year, each player who participates in one of the 40 Football Bowl Subdivision bowl games is permitted to accept $550 worth of gifts. According to ESPN, the wholesale value of items is used to calculate the total value of gifts received by players. In the case of the headphones, the wholesale value would be much closer to half the $350 retail value.
In 2015, ESPN reported that programs were allowed to gift each player with $400 worth of items heading into the national-championship game. While Ohio State won’t be playing for a title in Saturday’s PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, it stands to reason that similar rules would apply to national-championship play-in games.
In addition to the headphones, players on the Buckeyes’ roster will receive a PlayStation 4 gift package, a Fossil watch, an Ogio Shuttle Pack backpack, a book titled “History of the Bowls: Celebrating the Good of the Game,” and an Ice Shaker insulated bottle, according to Scott Keepfer, a sportswriter for South Carolina’s Greenville News.
But perhaps the most exciting gift of all for Ohio State’s squad was the note that came along with the new headphones. James penned a message of support to each player on his longtime favorite college football team and signed the bottom.
- Ohio State Football/Twitter
“Best of luck men!” James’ note began. “You guys are here for a reason so just enjoy the moment and make the most of it! Don’t settle for nothing less than greatness! O-H…#GOBUCKS!”
The No. 2 Buckeyes will face off against the third-ranked Clemson Tigers – who are also undefeated – Saturday at 8 p.m. for a spot in the national championship game. Despite holding the higher ranking, Ohio State is a two-point underdog heading into the contest.
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