7 Reason’s Why OU Athletics Will Not Be What You Are Expecting

Rufus fighingBrutus
Rufus fighting Brutus

Whether you’re signing on the dotted line of your Letter of Intent, or, as it is less glamorously referred to, if you are a “normal” student, not a student-athlete; submitting your nonrefundable deposit reserving your spot in the year’s freshmen class. It means the same thing either way. It means that you are committing to be a member of Ohio University and #BobcatNation for the next four….or five…or even six years as a student, and as an alumnus every year thereafter. Before doing so, there are a few things you should know. Most importantly, you should know that we are Bobcats, not Buckeyes. No matter how many times you say, “I go to Ohio University in Athens,” your family and friends will inevitably believe that what you are saying is that, “I go to Ohio State in Columbus.” This is a common misconception that sadly every Bobcat can relate to. Although both are public institutions just over 70 miles apart, a drive of less than two hours, the schools could not be more different in terms of culture, specifically sports culture. Case and point, Ohio University has strong athletic programs, but if you are looking for a Division I school where the entire student body spends the weekends at the athletic fields singing our fight song, “Stand Up And Cheer,” regrettably that is not something you will find at Ohio University. If a “sports school” is what you desire, Ohio University is not the school for you. Here’s 7 reasons why:

1  The marching band (The Marching 110) is more popular than the sports teams.

 

If you journey to Peden Stadium to watch Ohio football, you will probably see a fairly hardy crowd around 20,000 strong. Unfortunately though, that crowd that was once 20,000 strong will likely dwindle to a crowd of less than 10,000 after the Marching 110 has completed their halftime performance no matter how close the game may be. The reality is, sad as it may be; people come to see the famous Marching 110, not the football team, a tradition that has been in place for decades.

Free Shirt Friday Giveaway
Free Shirt Friday Giveaway

2  Free merchandise and free food giveaways can dictate student support of athletics.

Just as fans tend to only come out to sporting events to watch the band, fans, students in particular have a tendency to venture to Penden, the Convo and Bob Wren only with hopes of getting free gear or free food. After the giveaways, crowds usually shrink.

3  Students would rather buy beer than a hockey ticket.

2015-16 Ohio Men's Hockey Team
2015-16 Ohio Men’s Hockey Team

For all varsity sports student admission is free with a student ID. Club sports on the other hand require a $5 student fee because they are club sports and thus not university sponsored. Ohio hockey is a powerhouse program with four ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships over the last 20 seasons. When you have more than 25 home contests a season at $5 a person, it doesn’t matter how good the squad is, students are not willing to spend upwards of $125 to go to every hockey game when that same $125 can be used to cover weeks’ worth of bar tabs. Students would rather spend money on beer than sports tickets, plain and simple, it gives them more “bang for their buck.”

4  You need sports jerseys……but for parties, not sporting events on campus.


At Ohio University, the highlight of spring semester for most students is fest season. The coming of fest season means that for about a month, from mid-March- mid-April, there will be various street fests each weekend around town. At these fests you can expect two things. 1) Drunken debauchery and 2) A plethora of sports jerseys. The irony rests in the fact that all OU students act like huge sports fans when it is fest season, yet they won’t support the Bobcats at sporting events on campus.

5  Student-athletes are relatively unknown on campus.


At bigger Division 1 schools high profile student-athletes like a Johnny Manziel or a Cam Newton find themselves on Sports Center on a weekly basis and carry the status of a celebrity on their college campus. Other students routinely ask these future professional athletes for pictures and autographs alike. At Ohio, we don’t have that problem.  Our student-athletes are not fawned over by the rest of the student body. In fact some of Ohio’s best athletes go unnoticed as they walk up and down Court Street. Even 6’10, 260-pound forward Antonio Campbell, who was recently voted MAC Player-of-the Year, went unnoted by my two roommates as we passed him on the street walking to class earlier in the semester. How two self-proclaimed and knowledgeable sports fans did not recognize a 6’10 basketball star complete with a signature mustache as he passed them on the street, I do not know, but at Ohio, where sports aren’t a big deal…..it happens.

6  At Ohio, you are at the mercy of #MACtion.


Being an avid fan of the Mid-American Conference means two things. 1) Be prepared for the unpredictable. Where the best team in the MAC can either kill or be killed by the worst team in the MAC any given week in any sport. 2) Be prepared for inconvenient game times. As a member of the MAC teams are forced to play at times that are less than great for fans and athletes alike. MAC schedules are riddled with mid-week night games late in the season when the temperatures are blustery, balmy and bitter cold. Why? Because that is the only time ESPN will put a mid-major school like Ohio on national television. What can be done about this? Absolutely nothing. What is typically done though is that students do not attend the games. For some the weather scares them away, for others it is class and homework that prevents them from attending the event. Any way you look at it, #MACtion, as great as it can be hurts the Ohio athletics culture.

7  PLAYOFFS?!?!…….Mostly just a pipe dream for a MAC school.


Ohio athletics is fairly strong across the board it has seen success in all major sports fairly recently, it has seen professional athletes come through its programs as well. Despite all of the recent success’s the Bobcats have had on the athletic fields there is one thing that we must keep in mind. That is, we are a mid-major MAC school. This means that although we may have success, although we may make it to the post-season, we will never have certain athletic experiences like a “sports school” like Ohio State will have. An appearance in an historic game such as the College Football Playoff, the Men’s Basketball Final Four, the Men’s Hockey Frozen Four, among others just isn’t feasible for a smaller school like Ohio. For this reason, athletics aren’t as crazed here. Deep down, all Bobcats know, whether we want to admit it or not, we seldom if ever have the opportunity to play in the biggest game on the biggest stage.

 

 

 

 

 

Five reasons why you should care about OU Athletics

Most people that go to Ohio University think that the athletics are no good and should not be cared about. Yeah, Ohio University is not going to be like Ohio State or Michigan. Those schools have special athletic programs.

Does that mean that Ohio University Athletics suck? Not one bit. In fact, Ohio University Athletics should be cared about and here are five reasons why.

1) A ton of the programs have had recent success

Wait, schools in smaller conferences can be successful too? You don’t have to be in the BIG Ten or SEC to be successful? That is correct.

I will make it very simple for you: Ohio University Athletics have been very successful recently. Since football is usually the most popular sport on a college campus, I’ll start there.

Ohio University Football has been bowl eligible for seven straight years and has played a bowl game in six out of those seven years. That is some pretty good stability. Only good programs can sustain that.

Ohio University Men’s Basketball has had some major national success recently. The Bobcats made the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2012. They advanced to the Round of 32 in 2010 and to the Sweet 16 in 2012. In 2012, they lost to number one seed University of North Carolina in overtime. Yeah, the school where Michael Jordan went. We almost beat them on the biggest stage. Not bad right?

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Ohio University Men’s Basketball upsetting Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2010

Ohio University Baseball has made the NCAA Tournament 15 times including as recent as 2015. One of the best power hitters in baseball history in Mike Schmidt played baseball at Ohio University, too. He hit 548 home-runs in his career, which is good enough for 16th all-time.

The women have had some recent success as well. Ohio University Women’s Basketball made the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and won the MAC regular season title in 2016.

Last but not least, Ohio University Women’s Volleyball has been terrific. They have made the NCAA Tournament every year since 2003. In 2014, they were undefeated in MAC play.

2) MACtion is not that bad 

ben-roethlisberger
Former Miami of Ohio quarterback and current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger

The average fan thinks that the Mid American Conference, also known as MACtion, is garbage. Th average fan thinks that MACtion consists of bad teams with average players that will never be able to compete against the big schools.

That is completely wrong.

MACtion has produced some tremendous pro talent. Some former MACtion players include Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Julian Edelman, Khalil Mack, Jimmie Ward and Joe Staley. Ohio has two current NFL players in Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell and Oakland Raiders corner back TJ Carrie.

MACtion teams also have shown the ability to compete with the big schools. The University of Toledo beat the University of Arkansas last season. Arkansas plays in the SEC. That conference that MACtion teams “can’t” compete with.

3) A good MACtion team is better to have than a bad BIG Ten team 

Most people think that you have to be in a big conference like the BIG Ten to have a team that you should care about. However, that is not the case.

I have buddies that go to the University of Illinois, and their sports programs stink. Their football team has made it to just three bowl games since 2010. Their basketball team hasn’t made it to the Sweet 16 since 2005.

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An University of Illinois student section during a 2013 football game vs Ohio State.

Do students at the University of Illinois care about these teams? NO because they suck.

Even though they get to play the really good schools like Ohio State and Michigan State, it does not matter. Most of the students do not care because they rarely win.

In fact, a few of my buddies from there have visited Ohio and were impressed by how many students seem to care about the sports teams. They thought it was pretty close and maybe better to what they see on their campus from students.

Also, they were jealous that our teams actually win a decent amount of games each year. Their not to happy with the four wins their football program gives them every year.

4) It can make your college experience better

The whole student body might not care about the sports programs, but there are plenty of students who do. The  student section at the games, called the O-Zone, is a very passionate group of students. 20020404-OZONE

The O-Zone is a great place to meet new people, too. Someone you meet in the O-Zone could end up being one of your closest friends in college.

Supporting the sports teams also gives you something to constantly do. You will quickly find out how much free time there is in college. It is nuts. I did not know what to do with all the free time. I still have trouble filling the time honestly.

You can only play so many hours of video games and watch so many hours of Netflix. Going to sporting events can spice up your day and make it much more fun and interesting .

5) Just give it a chance

Most of the games are free, so you cannot use the excuse that you don’t want to spend the money to get out of going to a game. There are usually tailgates that include free food for students. Yeah, free food. You will learn fast how crucial a free meal is. So, if you don’t like going to the game, you will get a free meal out of it anyhow. Win win situation no matter what.

See you at the first football game in the fall. Who cares, Go Bobcats.

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