From 1984 to 1988, Rick served as Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University before resigning his position after the 1987 football season in protest of the president's firing of head football coach, Earle Bruce.
At Ohio State, Bay produced his own weekly radio show about Buckeye sports and instituted several innovative marketing and promotional concepts that increased department revenues by 25% without raising ticket prices to events.He also launched a $45 million sports facilities campaign, which resulted in the construction of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and developed an approach to the sale of the school's broadcasting rights that nearly doubled Ohio State's radio income.
During his tenure, Rick hired Gary Williams as the Buckeyes' men's basketball coach, Russ Hellickson as wrestling coach and Bob Todd as baseball coach, all of whom restored their programs to national prominance.
Bay established the department's first compulsory drug testing program, and established the Buckeyes' pro-am golf tournament that featured the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. He also improved Ohio State's non-conference football schedule by adding Washington, USC, LSU and Notre Dame.