Friday Skull Session

By Jason Priestas on July 15, 2011 at 1:45a

For the first time in at least seven months, the college football world is united in anger about something other than Ohio State.

Was it because Georgia Tech received a Notice of Infractions 10 months ago, the follow-up Notice of Allegations in December and went before the NCAA on April 15th without anyone in the media knowing about it until they were punished to the tune of a vacated football championship (not a real championship, just the ACC conference title) and a $100,000 fine today? Nope.

Was it because former Tar Heel Marvin Austin threatened to "spill the beans" after a Superior Court judge denied the reinstatement petition of defensive end Michael McAdoo? Nope.

While those are worthy candidates, the college football universe is apoplectic over something even bigger: the role of ESPN as a news organization. To which Buckeye fans can only say, "Hell, yes!"

The network generated outrage Thursday evening when news leaked of their decision to suspend respected college football writer Bruce Feldman for -- get this -- something he had prior approval to do. Apparently, the suspension is a result of his role working with Mike Leach on his recently released book Swing Your Sword.

The book, as you can imagine, has some not so nice things to say about ESPN, specifically Craig James, whose son Adam played a role in Leach's departure from Texas Tech in 2009. This angered the brass at ESPN, who continue to support James, one of the most despised guys in college football for both his handy work in wrecking the SMU program in the 80s and the walking conflict of interest he became while ESPN covered the Adam James/Mike Leach saga.

Support for Feldman is universal on Twitter, with scribes from other major organizations both rallying to defend Feldman and simultaneously lobbying for him to come work alongside them. SI's Andy Staples led the charge, cancelling his ESPN Insider account, and he was soon followed by other prominent writers from Stewart Mandel, who openly called for a boycott of ESPN, Yahoo's Dan Wetzel and Matt Hinton, the Sporting News' Matt Hayes and CBS' Gary Parrish

This is your wet dream, Buckeye fans. Just three days after ESPN had angered so many of you after they filed a lawsuit seeking Tressel/Sarniak records, the WWL has lurched right into a public relations catastrophe. I've never seen so many other journalists just go open season on ESPN until this. #FreeBruce is trending -- will the power of Twitter be enough to shame a media conglomerate into reversing course?

But getting back to Georgia Tech... If you read about the punishment the NCAA handed the Yellow Jackets, there's a good chance a smile made its way onto a face that had been in permanent frown mode for the better part of 2011:

Good Lord, I think Ohio State might just skate after all.

Look what happened to Georgia Tech, for a similar scandal only with a much more nefarious undertone. While OSU coach Jim Tressel himself was the culprit in the ultimately unsuccessful Ohio State cover-up of violations, and that's awful, the Big Ten school as a whole acted in an upright manner afterward:

Tressel was forced out, albeit more slowly than I would have liked. The school vacated every victory from the 2010 season. The best player involved, Terrelle Pryor, is gone even though he has eligibility remaining.

Compare that to Georgia Tech, which -- like Ohio State -- was guilty of using star players even after learning those players could be ineligible. And then, apparently, the Jackets made it worse by failing to cooperate completely with the NCAA's investigation

That's Gregg Doyel. And he's right.

Meet Michael Thomas. He's a former Under Armour All-American wide receiver from California that plans to visit in August. He reached out to us via Twitter and after promising to "live in the endzone", sent this highlight reel our way:

As Coop used to say, "He passes the look test."

25% of 40 Things About Keyboard James. Is there any more doubt as to who might be 11W's favorite Buckeye? Here's #3:

3.I love me some damn haitian food

Which just barely topped #5:

5.I love to tslk in my sleep I think dats really cool

Stuff: You know it... The Black Keys + Danger Mouse = Win... The problem with getting into shape... Bruce Willis is a bad man.



iball's picture

Excellent! (in best Mr. Burns voice)

I'm not sure what's better, the fact the Rambling' Wreck got what amounts to a stern look from the NCAA or that ESPN is finally revealing itself as the Third Reich news agency everyone knows they are.

Also, any kid who sends their recruiting tape to 11w is obviously very well connected and knows exactly what strings to pull. Sign em up.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

jfunk's picture

Greatest. T-shirt. Ever.

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Based on Michael Thomas' highlight film, his high school team's offensive strategy was the old "lob the football in the general vicinity of our star wide receiver" and hope Thomas comes down with it. 

This has been the most optimistic skully probably since the sugar bowl. pleaseohpleaseohplease don't give us a bowl ban.. 

Denny's picture

The Bruce is not to be harmed. That was part of the arrangement.


Jdadams01's picture

You, sir, win for quoting Braveheart.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

According to Keyboard James, "6.I hate people dat follow others be yourself" - does that mean he hates all of us who follow him on twitter? 

German Buckeye's picture

Less than 50 days until actual football is played - can't wait to read about execution, domination and the thrill of victory...

BuddhaBuck's picture

From 2008...

Will Gameday dare come to Columbus this fall?...

Michael Thomas sees the vacancy at the Ohio State WR Hotel and is ready to check in.


Don't text while driving.

btalbert25's picture

The best part is the 3rd comment, where the guy predicts 2 nationatl titles for Georgia.  That is probably the most delusional thing I've ever read lol. 

Kurt's picture

Seems like Roger Ailes directs the show at ESPIN.

741's picture

I'm just happy that #FreeBruce isn't referring to Hooley.

biggy84's picture

I agree! hooley is terrible. He has been missing of late from the hate scene and i'm glad.

btalbert25's picture

Good to hear that real journalists are raking ESPN over the coals.  Maybe, just maybe with the ESPN book that came out this spring, Leach's book, and the fall out from this fiasco, people will start to see them for what they are.  Of course, fans of certain teams and conferences will always listen to everything they say because they cater to them.  Much like other networks fill a bunch of BS into their programming and because it goes along with the belief systems of people they buy into everything that is said despite evidence to suggest otherwise.

flipbuckeye's picture

I see what you did there without actually doing it.

AcrossTheField11's picture

lol but to which direction to you refer?

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

btalbert25's picture

I didn't even know Georgia Tech had been investigated.  ESPN wasn't the only one who dropped the ball on that one.  I have not read or heard anything about their program being in trouble at all. Glad to read Doyel's take on it. 

Maestro's picture

Their own fans didn't even know about it.  Nor did anyone in Atlanta from what I can tell until yesterday.  Unreal.

vacuuming sucks

elaydin's picture

Personally, I don't think Feldman is all that great.  He's not in the category of Dodd/Hayes/Doyel/Deinhart/Futiak/etc, but I certainly prefer Mandel and Rittenberg.

That being said, anything that's bad for ESPN makes me happy, so #FreeBruce !

neallivingston's picture

Dang Michael Thomas! Do people not use Merle Haggard for highlight reels anymore? Where have all the cowboys gone?!?!

thorvath22's picture


neallivingston's picture

All I know is that I had NO interest in Leach's book before yesterday. Now, I'm downloading it to my iPad as we speak. Mikey's laughing all the way to the bank. Thanks Craigy!

Bucks43201's picture

hey, how about Mark May yesterday, when talking about the current Georgia Tech sanctions --- he just couldn't help himself. He immediately starting bashing OSU, and said something lilke: "...things won't be right unless Ohio State is penalized back to the leather helmet days..."

what an ASSCLOWN!    Is there anybody who has some kind of online petition against him, or any kind of anti-Mark May clothing, I will donate to it.

How does this guy remain on the air with such obvious bias and lack of professionalism? (it is ESPN, afterall, I guess).

Like last bowl season, he had his panties in a bunch when he found out the "Tat 5" were illegible to play in the Sugar Bowl (NCAA ok'd this, not OSU, btw); but he said it was the NCAA's preferential treatment towards the Big 10 Conference, and kept whining about how if it were an SEC team, they wouldn't be playing...Wow! eSECpn, okay Marky. Was he not paying attention to the whole sCam Newton ordeal in the SEC last year? What an ass!

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

btalbert25's picture

Mark May loves to bash Ohio State.  He makes some comments about other schools with huge fan bases too.  You keep him on the air because people run to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and even tune in to see what he has to say about your school next.  If collectively, Mark May was just ignored by Ohio State fans, as well as fans of schools like Notre Dame that he sometimes directs his hate toward, the guy becomes irrelevant and useless to ESPN.  Until then, he generates ratings.

Qujo's picture

Totally Agree - I have been saying that for years. These guys (Dooley, etc) are just looking to help getting ratings or web hits. They aren't that relevant but by us continuing to go to the blogs, etc it gives tehm credibility beyond what they deserve. Ignore them. You will feel bettter about it in the end.

"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

joel121270's picture

I agree as well on this, I used to let Mark May's comments really fire me up but then I thought about that douche they had in 2002, the white boy who was constantly bashing TOSU then had to eat his words after we won the NC. Since then the man has become irrelevent and I think if we just leave douchebag #2 alone to do his thing he will be gone someday as well.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

You mean Trev Alberts?

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

buckeyedude's picture

I wish May would go the way of Trev Alberts.



joel121270's picture

Yes, that tool...I had it on the tip of my tongue almost puking when I thought of him...That clown drove me nuts.

Jason Priestas's picture

Some of you guys are probably too young to remember this, but in the 90s there was an AM radio personality, The Fabulous Sports Babe, that went out of her way to bash Ohio State and Ohio State fans at every opportunity. Not long after, she was out of radio completely.

RBuck's picture

I remember her very well. For some strange reason she did like John Cooper.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

joel121270's picture

I remember her, but didn't listen to her....from what I hear she was a lot of hot air as well.

Shane Falco 16's picture

I remember her, I don't recall her bashing OSU but I didn't listen to her oftern because I couldn't stand her voice. I remember when ESPN2 put her show on tv and we actually got see that she was no "Babe"

biggy84's picture

The feldman outrage shows that there is a definitey a small fraternity of tabloid sports media. If you read a few of the tweets, they refer to the "new media" group. That speaks volumes to me.

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

I've lost all respect for any reporter, and it doesn't matter who they work for: ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the Columbus daily disappointment newspaper, etc. All of them want to bring the Buckeyes down and send them back to 1870 in football.

JozyMozy's picture

Whoa. and I thought was cynical. 

Denny's picture



Nappy's picture



Fan of bacon since 1981

AcrossTheField11's picture

"Jerusalem, if I forget you..."

[Ed: FTFY]

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

AcrossTheField11's picture

holy shit sorry guys.  idk how to fix this.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Colin's picture

I'm pretty sure that is the largest picture I've ever seen posted. 

JozyMozy's picture

no. shhhh. it's perfect just the way it is. not even sure what point you were trying to make, but you made the hell out of it. 

AcrossTheField11's picture

Fast Forward to approximately 2:20 and listen for awihle.  Hopefully that at least explains what I was trying for lol.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

RoweTrain's picture

I seriously cannot stop laughing at this whole sequence. 

Nappy's picture

I think we were just  /BOOM bar mitzvah'd

Fan of bacon since 1981

Colin's picture


Qujo's picture

UMMMMMM - I think I have an issue when Eleven Warriors post the anti ESPN SPIN factor and then has an DISNEY advertisement. I hope that is just oversight and not a hypocrital site....

"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

Jason Priestas's picture

Google ads. We don't have a ton of control over what pops up.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

However, you do have control over these ads. Google essentially takes its best crack at your demographic based upon your search history and page views and feeds you ads based upon these pages. You can change these ads here, as well as see what google thinks of you if you don't want Disney:



Qujo's picture

Here is my email to Steve Jobs ([email protected]). He is on the Board of Directors for Disney/ESPN. If you are serious about the continued negative perception being created by ESPN, then I hope you do something about it, or feel free to be quiet...


As someone who is highly respected in the technology and consumer products fields, I appreciate your ability to create a brand image of your company, your products and your affiliates products that support your vision and the growth of Apple as a leading brand.


That is exactly the reason I chose to email you since branding can make or break an entity and create goodwill towards what something stands for or the inverse perception is created in a negative factor that hurts a brand.


As a Board of Director member for Disney, the parent company of ESPN, I find it interesting that you and the other Directors allow continued negative perception to be created by ESPN towards a brand that I hold near and dear to my heart, The Ohio State University.


I realize that Ohio State has created its own problems recently in the eyes of the NCAA and that the NCAA, not negative public perception will utlimately decide the nature of sanctions against the football program at The Ohio State University. However the constant negative image being potrayed by ESPN of The Ohio State University and the recent subsequent lawsuit against The Ohio State University can only logically be explained to promote it's own well being at the exoense of something I hold in high esteem.


As a result I can only summize as a Board of Director of the parent company of ESPN that you support an environment where negative public perception against a brand is ok. And as a result I can no longer support your brand or those that affiliate with your brand. As you can expect, the passioned fans at The Ohio State University broadcasts a wide net internationally and many feel the same way.


I hope your health is in good favor. Best of luck in the future.



cc: Buckeye Nation



"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

Denny's picture

I'm guessing that Jobs' response (if you get one) will be something like this:


tl;dr wtf

Sent from my iPad


Buckeye in Athens's picture

haha I think that's almost exactly what he say. 

btalbert25's picture

That's good stuff.  When I put together the blog post about sending letters to sponsors, I was thinking it would be a good idea for someone to put together a form letter that most of us could send.  Something that is worded correctly and put together well would be much more well received that Dear Home Depot,  EFFF ESPN which is what I fear some out there may send.  I would put together something, but I'm not the greatest proofreader at times, I ofen put together posts and emails as I'm working and so sometimes it can be sloppy.

I know there are people on this site who are very good with words and others who write letters quite frequently and get responses as well.  I thought perhaps someone would like to come up with a draft for a letter that could be sent to various sponsors.  I feel this actually would get a larger response as people could just hit print, sign their name and send the letter off.

Qujo's picture

Yes I did clean up my spelling errors prior to sending the email...

"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

Qujo's picture

Denny maybe - but please do not come on here ever complaining about the injustice of ESPN if you don't want to do anything about it. Your choice. Otherwise, really keep the negative comments to a minimum...

"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

Irricoir's picture


Not familiar with Denny are you? Think this, but with some intelligence.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I don't think Denny was trolling you, just making a joke about Steve Jobs's typically concise writing style on emails 

Denny's picture


Sent from my Macbook.


Denny's picture

It's not that I don't want to do anything about it. I choose where I get my information from, and have avoided ESPN for a few years for various reasons.

But if I were to try to reach out in protest, I'd be more judicious with my efforts than emailing Steve Jobs about ESPN being mean to Ohio State.

But again, it was mostly a Steve Jobs joke.


btalbert25's picture

I do believe that a lot of the, ESPN is out to get us stuff, is a bit over blown, but I also think it's pretty clear they are milking it for all it's worth for ratings.  I did the blog post the other day because I saw where people were thinking that simply not tuning into ESPN would hurt ESPN, and unless a few thousand Buckeye fans have Nielsen boxes, it really does nothing to simply ignore that channel on your TV. 

I'm willing to bet ESPN's uneven coverage of the OSU problems has actually increased hits to their websites and blogs as well as their programming.  Quite honestly, every time another college football story breaks, the first thing several people do on here is go check to see if ESPN is mentioning the other school, then they report back to this site that ESPN is not running with a certain story.

If you really want to do anything to get ESPN to stop, do exactly as Qujo has done.  If you think it's stupid to do such things, you are entitled to that opinion as well, but I don't think anyone should be discouraged from writing.  At least they aren't someone who just comes on and pisses and moans then grunts something like ESPN BAD OHIO STATE GOOD. 

Bucksfan's picture

Regarding Stewart Mandel, or any of those other journalists for that matter, where's the ire towards Sports Illustrated?  They published what amounts to the same overblown gasoline fuse for which we're indicting ESPN (article written by that d-bag Pulitzer winner).  Yahoo hasn't been a saint, either.

It's nice that some of their journalists are calling for fairness from ESPN regarding one of their own, but most of them work for the same sort of monsters where they only report what they think is news (for example, in 2005 SI published the first Indy car-related cover in 20 years.  They put Danica Patrick on the cover of the issue following the Indy 500.  She finished 4th.  Winner Dan Wheldon, who has since won the race once more, still has yet to grace the cover.  Neither has Franchitti, another two-time winner.  Danica has been on the cover twice.).

Qujo's picture

Seriously I learned a long time ago to not allow myself to be the victim. We all have choices. You can do something about your situation or you can be indifferent or you can be a victim, pick your position.

"Tough times don't last, tough people do" - Gregory Peck

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Was tuning into Mike Leach on XM today.  They brought up a great point...the only thing that will bring ESPN down is cable money going away.  They mentioned something to the tune of $5 per house as to what ESPN is paid by cable / sat. providers for being on basic packages. 

Turn the channel.  They don't care.  They get paid even if we all stopped watching them and stopped spending money with their sponsers.  Very sad.

I guess keep writing the letters.  Or cancel your cable.

AcrossTheField11's picture

Or have someone offer an alternative or competing product.  What if a entity such as the Associated Press came out with its own network that reported purely objective fact and showed various sporting events during prime time.  I'd love to have that option at the moment to avoid all the hate spew but I honestly think I'd get bored with it after awhile.  ESPN's got a chokehold on this particular market however, and I hate to say it, but many people tune in for no other reason but the tabloid type stuff.  There's a reason why shows like Jerry Springer and magazines like Enquirer have been around for so long.  The E in ESPN stands for Entertainment after all.

Thank god for the B1G network, I suppose.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Me too, but there is no option outside of FSN, which leaves me wanting more.  Best Damn Sports Show?  I beg to differ.  ESPN was once the best around.  They went The View route to reach a broader audience (I did not say smarter) and gain viewership from folks outside of your typical fanatic.  Can't blame them for branching out, but they shouldn't have done it at the expense of solid sports coverage.  Every fracking show is multiple people covering every angle that benefits the company.  Obvious be damned, they will not talk about the elephant with explosive diarrhea (where have I seen that before?) in the room if it makes them look like they aren't the end all of speculation.  When have you seen them (cough, cough, Herbie) apologize for false reports like Les Miles to scUM?  Or Friends article with Mo C allegations that the NCAA couldn't even back up?  They do no wrong.  They must be run by scUM fans...

NeARBuckeye's picture


Hey look we're on the front page again! The article is garbage as usual. There's some interesting information but Geiger rated Tress 10/12. That's still a pretty good clip.

Johnny Ginter's picture

the real story here IMO is that gene smith nixed written evaluations in favor of oral ones, that opens up one hell of a rabbit hole

Bucks's picture

I really hope that the below has some explantion past the hit grabbing portion.

I am not someone who buys into the camp believing we are about to get smoked by penalties, but if the general usage of this account is accurate, I just have no explanation.

Regardless of any ESpin or any person filled with hate, if this is actually accurate I'm pissed. tOSU is paying tickets for athletes now as part of a student fund? Give me a bleepity bleep bleep break.