Athletics Play Primary Role at OSU


By Zack Meisel Unigo Campus Rep at Ohio State Nov. 9, 2008 The marching band takes the field to blare the tune of “Hang on Sloopy.” Fans contort their arms into the shapes of the letters O-H-I-O. Brutus Buckeye pumps up a massive crowd, his colossal cranium rocking from side to side. School traditions appear all over campus at Ohio State. Students might engage in an O-H versus I-O shouting match, just by walking to class. At OSU, it’s athletics that bring campus traditions to the forefront. Sporting events unite the scarlet and gray, and provide a unique experience for Buckeye students. Ohio State football carries a long-running history of tradition and excellence. Each Saturday home game, over 100,000 students and alumni gather to celebrate what is an annual national championship contender. Seth Rhodes, a sophomore marketing and advertising major, said the thrill associated with attending such a sporting event can’t be matched. “I’ve always had a passion for watching [sports],” he said. “But there’s so much more to them when you’re actually at the stadium or the arena.” The rituals conducted at football games provide the ultimate joy and excitement, Rhodes added. “The excitement that you feel when an O-H-I-O chant goes around the stadium in a circle — it always sends chills down my spine,” he said. “It’s an air, especially here, that is unlike anything else.” While football sits front and center in the OSU sporting world, the lesser-followed sports carry the same tradition and energy. Many other teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, gymnastics, and soccer maintain a similar, successful history. Basketball games at the Schottenstein Center and hockey contests at St. John’s Arena consistently draw thousands of fans. More students are catching on to the excitement of track and field at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Though fans pay more attention to the autumn contests at The Horseshoe, other teams fare just as well, said Megan Kapes, a sophomore actuarial science major. “Most people know OSU just for the football,” she said. “But so many of the smaller teams have great athletes and win championships and just aren’t as recognized as, say, football or basketball.” The spotlight certainly shines on the fierce football rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan. Students jump into Mirror Lake each year on the Thursday before the game, and cross off the letter “M” on every sign or building around campus. Other Buckeye teams share similar hatred with their Big Ten foes as well, just not with the same ferocity or brutality. Ohio State and Michigan also share a growing rivalry in hockey. The Buckeyes and Iowa Hawkeyes have a longtime rivalry in women’s basketball. Then there’s the Ohio State and Florida opposition, which has developed in recent years in both football and men’s basketball. It’s no surprise that athletics play a vital role on campus. Ohio State pours more money into its athletic budget than any other school in the country. With such a diverse collection of sports, there are events to attend at any time, Kapes said. “There are always games to go to, to watch possible friends and classmates compete competitively against rivals,” she said. Overall, athletics at OSU are just as much of a part of daily life as friendships and schoolwork. As football season winds down, basketball starts up. Come spring, baseball and softball games and track meets will attract thousands of students. Sports at Ohio State provide a buzz of energy around the campus that few schools can match, Kapes said. “The sporting events on campus provide great entertainment and ignite an exciting atmosphere,” she said. “I love being a part of the crowd, cheering, screaming, and watching our teams win.”