The Best Darn Band In The Land Needed To Do Better

The Ohio State marching band needed Super Man. What they got instead was Clark Kent.

Clark Kent, as anyone who read the university’s investigative report released this week can tell you, was Jon Waters nickname when he was a member of TBDBITL. He is also, as anyone allowed within ten miles of Comic Con can tell you, the kindly alter ego of a hero.

That hero was powered by the sun. However, there was little sunlight where the OSU band was concerned. It was a very insular culture. In their defense, that’s probably true of most marching bands. In high school, the band is more than an organization; it’s a clique. That continues in college, where even more time and effort is demanded of participants, drawing them even closer together. A band as successful and talented as Ohio State’s and thus with every right to be proud? Well, that pride sometimes is the mortar of a wall that keeps outside perspectives out.

Which brings us to the second lesson Waters could have learned from Super Man. He was able to juggle two perspectives. He lived as someone immersed in the American Way, and he was able to view things as a Kryptonian outsider. If Waters could have stepped outside his experience as a member of TBDBITL and seen how some of the group’s “traditions” would be viewed by someone less attached to the heritage, he might still be band’s director.

There will be some who point out that Waters did take steps in that direction. Not enough. Not for a school whose Title IX policies are under review by the Department of Education.

There will also be some who argue that the raunchy atmosphere was just a part of being a band member or being a college student. It shouldn’t have to be. If sex was intrinsic to playing an instrument, playing an instrument would be a prerequisite to joining a club of swingers.

There will also be those who claim none of the more modest band members were subjected to anything. However, what are the odds that every squeamish band member was bestowed an appropriately conservative nickname? It certainly wasn’t just the less prudish who witnessed the simulated sex act on a bus ride last year. And it wasn’t just the bawdy band members who were asked to “create and draw a sex position for fat people” as part of their rookie midterm. (If that was the case, investigators probably would not have ended up with a copy of that exam.)

The end result is a report that reads like “50 Shades of Scarlet and Grey.”

It’s a shame. Waters is, by most accounts, a very nice guy. He’s undoubtedly raised the profile of what was already a highly regarded marching band. He may be a super man.

But Ohio State needed a Super Man.

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NFL Statement on Ray Rice

COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL notified Baltimore Ravens running back RAY RICE today that he will be suspended without pay for the first two 2014 regular season games and fined an additional game check for conduct detrimental to the NFL in violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy for his February arrest.

In May, Rice resolved the charges by entering into a pretrial intervention program. Under this program, he will not be prosecuted and is not required to serve jail time or pay any fine. After one year, the charges will be expunged and will not be part of Rice’s record.

Following this agreement, Goodell met with Rice and his wife. Despite the court’s decision not to impose criminal punishment, the Commissioner determined, as he advised Rice, that the conduct was incompatible with NFL policies and warranted disciplinary action.

In a letter to Rice, Commissioner Goodell stated:

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

“You will be expected to continue to take advantage of the counseling and other professional services you identified during our meeting. As you noted, this additional assistance has been of significant benefit to you and your wife, and it should remain a part of your practice as appropriate.

“I believe that you are sincere in your desire to learn from this matter and move forward toward a healthy relationship and successful career. I am now focused on your actions and expect you to demonstrate by those actions that you are prepared to fulfill those expectations.”

Rice’s suspension will begin on August 30. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Monday, September 12 following the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rice may participate in all aspects of training camp and preseason games.

Rice may appeal this decision within three days.

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Cheers, Visitors to Columbus!

What’s a Brit to do when visiting Columbus, Ohio? That’s the dilemma facing fans of Crystal Palace F.C., the English Premier League team playing against the Crew tonight.

And assuming their fans crossed the pond to join them on their “American adventure,” the Eagles put together this handy visitor’s guide to the city. You’ll be especially amused to learn who Londoners believe to be the most prolific people from the area. Oh, yeah.

If you’re attending tonight’s contest, please, enjoy yourself, but watch out for a team bus driving on the wrong side of the road.

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Lights, Camera…MACtion!

Two teams from the Mid American Conference have both channeled their inner-Steven Spielberg in an attempt to sell season tickets.

The first is from Miami, whose Lil’ Harbaugh ad harkens back to Nike’s Lil Penny.

Ohio’s effort to sell tickets is more an homage to a Reebok spot: Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Meet his successor: Tarrell Bashman, Office Enforcer.

I was going to post a poll here as to which ad campaign you found more effective, but let’s face it, there’s only one right answer.


(Hat tip on to Lil’ Garrett Downing on the Miami commercial.)

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Ohio State/Michigan Cracks The Top 5

ESPN has named 25 college football games from this past season as the best of 2013, and ESPNU will be televising replays of most of these contests in the coming days.

For Ohio State fans, this is both good and bad. The Buckeyes loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl ranks 19th on the ESPN list, and the Big Ten Championship Game, in which OSU fell 34-24 to Michigan State is 9th.*

However, the Scarlet and Gray’s victory over Michigan is somewhere in the top 5, where exactly that game lands will depend on a fan vote. To cast your vote, click here.

*ESPN won’t be airing the Big Ten title game.

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Could Troy Smith Lose Out To Tim Tebow Again?

The Montreal Alouttes of the Canadian Football League have apparently reached a crossroads with quarterback Troy Smith.

The signal caller turned 30 this past weekend and has shown signs of promise this season. However, there have also been games like the 41-5 loss to BC. In that contest, Smith only completed one first-half pass for positive yards. By the end, he was 5/17 throwing.

It was so rough, the Alouettes coach refused to name Smith his starter for Montreal’s next game, and who do the Alouettes hope will ride to their rescue?

Apparently, the GM checks in with Tim Tebow’s agent every now and then to gauge his interest.

“We would love to see him,” Jim Popp told the National Football Post. “If there was ever a time when (Tebow) wanted a great shot, now is the time.”

Montreal is the team that owns the CFL rights to Tebow. (NFP also notes they Michael Sam on their negotiation list.)

While it may seem unlikely that Tebow would accept the pay cut necessary for him to play the pivot in Montreal, it also seems like Smith could probably stand to even out his performances in order to reduce the allure of the former Florida QB.

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LeBron James: Just Like You and Me?

It is the conundrum of our time: Americans don’t resent the successful, but we are dismayed by what it seems to take to get ahead.

And as the gap between the haves and have-nots grows larger and larger, we become increasingly aware of what separates the two.

Too often it seems like what it takes to advance is a head start in life, a natural gift of some sort, or a skewed set of priorities: You know, money means a whole lot more, relationships and ethics a whole lot less to “those people.”

Nowhere is this more true than in a town like Cleveland, where the economic difficulties and efforts at a comeback have been well documented.

I think this is one reason the LeBron James story resonates so much.

Here is, not just a successful man, but the most prolific basketball player of our time, and home means as much to him as it does to “us.”

He seems genuinely grateful to those who helped him get where he is. He seems to sense a responsibility to give back.

It’s ironic really. He’s a 6’8″, 250 pound freak of an athlete, and we see more of ourselves in him than in a lot of the other powerful people in America today.

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