The People Under the Stairs

By Ramzy Nasrallah on May 8, 2012 at 1:00p
65 Comments
[Waugh, pointing] "This is Brutus!" [Brutus, pointing] "That's your probation officer!"

When I was a child I got to meet Dave Winfield. Ditto Hayden Fry, Chris Mullin and a whole bunch of San Diego Chargers (thanks, Grandma).

My prevailing memories of those encounters are not so much wow, famous people but more geez these guys are huuuuuuuge. They're cool memories, but that's all they are - I've got no photos, autographs or mementos; just recollections of my tiny paw being engulfed by all of those giant hands.

For some people size doesn't matter. Celebrity does, and often times it matters a little too much.

When I was an editor at the Indiana Daily Student during undergrad we would joke about how star guard Damon Bailey had probably never worn the same pair of socks twice, because they would always find a way to disappear from his locker after he wore them once. I imagine those socks smelled...famous.

At a school-sanctioned autograph signing Bailey once came into contact with a grown man who proudly informed him that he had named his two children "Damon" and "Bailey." He even brought the boy and girl to meet their 19-year old namesake. Based on their ages it was evident they had been born during his legendary Indiana high school career.

If that seems appallingly young for an adult to embark on a mission of unhealthy hero worship, consider that football recruits Alex Anzalone, Joey Bosa and Mike Heurmann are current high school juniors, and after last week they're a little more famous than they'd probably prefer to be. Justin Bieber is older than they are.

It's likely adolescent girls at their respective high schools spend less time competing for their attention than 31-year old Charles Eric Waugh now-famously did, all with 16 years still remaining on his court-mandated 20-year term in the public registry for sex offenders, whose members are also forbidden from living within 1000 yards of a school.

Prior to being outed for his past transgressions, the creepiest thing about Waugh - aside from his overt stalking practices - had been that his facial expression and forced posture were identical in every photo he shared publicly. Now that he has since been arrested for violating the terms of his probation, his unsolicited involvement with Ohio State athletics should be permanently over.

To be fair to Waugh - and if there's a creepier feeling than giving a pedophile with a penchant for underage boys the benefit of the doubt, I don't ever want to experience it - his pedophilia and his predilection for Ohio State could be mutually exclusive. The problem for him is that they're legally not permitted to be.

At the same time it does the discussion around how creepy is too creepy a disservice, since outside of NAMBLA meetings there isn't a vocal opposition to keeping pedophiles away from children.

It's definitely possible to be shuddersome without having one's name on the sex offender registry (though being on that list definitely helps) but let's pretend he's just infatuated with Buckeye sports, since that dramatically widens the scope of people who can relate.

WENT DAHN TO THA PAHLAH AND GOHT THA PATS ON MY NAGGANNot all fans come with creepy warning labels (yes, it's real)

How creepy is too creepy? Social media is many things to many people, including an enabling device for creepiness to everyone who chooses to participate. It's no different from an automobile potentially being both a mode of transport or a weapon: It all depends upon the operator.

Having an account on Twitter or Facebook, the two most-widely used platforms, isn't free of responsibility despite being free of charge. Fans desperately pander to be noticed by all degrees of celebrity on a daily basis, whether it's begging for attention from strangers or acknowledging tripe which developed brain stems should categorically ignore.

Unsolicited social media stalking carries all of the annoyances of telemarketing, but without a business model or a product. What separated Waugh from the horde of garden variety creepers and eventually outed him was a combination of red flags that he publicly waved for the world to see: He Tweet-spammed over 100 Ohio State recruits, players and coaches on a regular basis while pursuing photographs and meetings with several kids.

Normally this behavior would scream booster or agent. It was obvious Waugh was neither of these.

His "motivational quotes" went largely ignored, but some players and at least one administrator took the bait and acknowledged him. A handful of younger players even began following him back.

Fans and bloggers noticed Waugh's behavior, with the unnecessary clincher being his disturbing description of a photo containing his 31-year old self and three high school juniors barely half his age. Several people, including yours truly, notified OSU Compliance and suggested that the department keep an eye on him.

Less than 24 hours later the Lantern published its story and that particular threat, which the university classified as one to student/recruit welfare, was extinguished.

It seemed obvious that this was the right outcome, except that Anzalone rescinded his week-old commitment to Ohio State in the aftermath. This produced two unfortunate reactions: One, the story was seized upon with the same predictable vigor and attention that all Buckeye travails tend to receive (don't ever change, Bleacher Report) which peeled at the media scabs from last summer's sloppy free-cars-TV-ban-$40,000-handshakes "reporting" frenzy.

Second - for a few Buckeye fans - the hostility over what had transpired was not directed at Waugh but at those who dared to turn him in to OSU Compliance. Apparently it would have been more favorable to the football program to keep quiet about a possible predator on campus pursuing underage kids for fear of negative publicity. Why does that sound so familiar?

LOOSE LIPS SINK RECRUITING CLASSES YOU JERK"But pedophiles stalking teens isn't an NCAA violation!"

At the same time, there were some scorned fans who were openly critical of Anzalone's family decision to decommit from Ohio State. I saw unsolicited tweets to links from the sex offender registry showing where registered offenders lived proximate to the Anzalones' home in Pennsylvania. I saw hostile reactions to a private family's personal decision from a fan base I'm a part of that made me hate myself by association.

I was asked - repeatedly - if specific acts on Twitter or Facebook were categorically considered creepy. I was given scenarios. I was asked for my unqualified opinion. PRO TIP: If actually you have to ask, it's probably creepy.

For the most part the entire episode was correctly viewed and digested as a non-Ohio State phenomenon. Over the weekend Penn State verbal Ross Douglas publicly came to Louisville-bound Kyle Bolin's defense when a creepy UK fan gave him unsolicited feedback regarding his college choice (click that link, or simply do a search on any recruit immediately after he eliminates Kentucky - it will blow your mind).

There's plenty of ugliness already in college football, from devastating injuries and widespread corruption to the facade of amateurism and the academic fraud committed by institutions to maintain a breadwinner.

Performance-enhancing drugs, runners and agents are not new, and neither are stalkers or invasion of privacy - on the Internet or otherwise: Schools have been warning and educating their athletes on social media best-practices since the platform was in its infancy (trivia: you know who stalks college athletes the most? The colleges themselves).

As fortunate as the outcome was - Anzalone's decommitment aside - unfortunately there was no real payoff or lesson learned: So there are dangerous, disquieting people in the world. We've always known this, both about the world and about college football, since the world's first fratricide. That wasn't exactly a mystery that the Waugh's emergence suddenly helped solve.

Creepergate, brief as it lasted, was beguiling because it combined the seedy elements that normally grapple people's attention anyway - and then added Ohio State football.

It was that final scarlet and gray variable that changed everything, and unfortunately spawned many creeps beyond the primary culprit. That's because adding that Ohio State variable, for some fans, somehow made Waugh's actions excusable.

For others, it made them more intolerable. And that shouldn't be possible. Ohio State football doesn't make stalking less acceptable. That crime stands on its own.

65 Comments

Comments

bassplayer7770's picture

Ramzy, thank you for doing the right thing by reporting him to Compliance.

onetakedizzle's picture

UGH MORE LIKE RAMZY NASeatingly PROFICIENT AT TEARING APART A RECRUITING CLASS :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

Send you to OSU Hospital / You'll need a buck nurse...

JasonBuck's picture

I honestly wish twitter wouldn't allow you to contact people directly.  It's like you are friends with the whole world and you have no choice who can contact you, make statements about you, or who can view your page.  I liked this story, by man....did you have to do the multi color creepy photo on the front page of thee premier tOSU recruiting site of the creeper???

Taspra's picture

Excellent Article!

theDuke's picture

guy violated a court order. he was lucky to not be behind bars. good call Ramzy. one recruit is not worth going through another fiasco like last year w/ us or PSU. golf clap for you, sir.

theDuke

Bucksfan's picture

Still waiting to hear if Spicy Garlic sauce is going to decommit from the BW3's lineup because of Creeper McPhee.

BrewstersMillions's picture

That would be a terrible loss, Bucksfan. I don't know how you rebuild after a loss like that.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

flipbuckeye's picture

Spicy Garlic wasn't that good anyway. We only want sauces that want to be here.

Doc's picture

Blasphemer!  SG is the good stuff.

"Say my name."

flipbuckeye's picture

I don't think you got it.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Now it leaves more room for another flavor I wanted more anyway. Spicy Hunan HAS to be on the top of the list now.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Doc's picture

I got it Flip.  I was just pulling your chain.  You were being ironic.  But Spicy Garlic is my favorite and if you EVER say anything bad about it again.... I'll killya.

"Say my name."

Squirrel Master's picture

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Doc's picture

I was thinking more along the lines of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pA1h1FjBZg

"Say my name."

Bucksfan's picture

So true, it might be devastating.  I just got an email saying Spicy Garlic has just put a Pennsylvania Hooters back on its list of potential homes.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

I applaud you Ramzy, dont like that picture though

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Doc's picture

Ramzy, you went to IU?  Really!?!?!!??  j/k. 
I still don't understand the entire draw to twitter, or even facebook.  First off who cares what other people are thinking or doing.  Is your life so boring you live vicariously threw someone else?  I know people can get good info off of it, but aren't there other avenues for that?  Secondly, following high schoolers, no matter how good they are at something, is creepy.  You don't have to be a registered sex offender to be wierd.  Following, reaching out to, or any other contact with a kid in high school is creepy at best.  Use some common sense and leave them alone.  You aren't as cool as you think you are.
Alex does a wonderful job keeping us updated with all the recruiting news a person should ever need.  Let that be enough for you.
Delete your twitter and facebook accounts and be more productive people.  Play with your own kids and shorten the "Honey Do Lists".
Just my $0.02

"Say my name."

UrbzRenewal's picture

How do you think Alex and other national recruiting guys get a lot of their news again?

Doc's picture

Alex is a professional, not some dude in his basement tweeting every 16yo in the country.  You aren't, are you Al?  He works for a legitimate entity and passes that information on.  He is different than one of us following these kids.  There is a difference and you know it.

"Say my name."

UrbzRenewal's picture

Actually I don't. Alex is not a professional, he has a real job, you know. So what defines a legitimate entity? 
If I made a blog, called myself a recruiting analyst, and did interviews with kids would that make me legit? Would you say this is legit? http://ohiostaterecruiting.blogspot.com/ (they do good work there! Not professional though). Would you call Bleacher Report legitimate? 
There is no difference. The difference is in the interaction with the recruits. I don't tweet recruits. I follow them. Usually they're the source of good news, like Maurice Hurst Jr, who actually broke Anzalone's initial commitment. The difference is in interaction.

 

Doc's picture

Yes Urbz, I know Alex has a real job, and yes this is just a blog that has grown up into something more.  I guess you could start a blog and and call yourself a recruiting analyst.  My point is that there are grown ass men following these children because they can play football real good.  To me it is creepy/stalker-ish.  Maybe if recruiting was my thing I would have a different view point.  I just think it is wierd to follow these guys and then contact them and say hi, or thanks for picking our school, or anything else.  Same with following anyone else you don't know personally on twitter or FB.  But, then again, I've been told I'm old and out of it.

"Say my name."

UrbzRenewal's picture

Alex is a professional, not some dude in his basement tweeting every 16yo in the country.

From Wiki: A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee.

Alhan's picture

Heh, wiki.  At least look at dictionary.com or something.
I think the 13th definition on dictionary.com best fits Alex's position: "a person who is expert at his or her work"

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Alex's picture

Did I just get stalked? haha

I think Twitter is a great source of news for me, but I'm also on the phone every night with recruits, coaches, colleagues, and friends inside various programs......I think there's a valuable place for Twitter and there's no right or wrong usage for the most part....I CANNOT stand when people tweet negative things at 16 year old high school kids like Joey Bosa when he chooses OSU and not Michigan/Alabama/etc....that is my problem with Twitter, but other than that it's mostly good stuff.....I technically am a professional but the definition of the meaning, but whether I am or am not, I do get the recruiting scoop and I'm very confident I do it the right way...however you define that

buckeye76BHop's picture

I'm not sure where Urbzrenewal is coming from.  Alex...if it wasn't for you...I'd be WAY less informed when it comes to OSU recruiting.  I follow you and one other at Bucknuts...good stuff.  Keep it coming.  And as far as BR is concerned...what trash.  I just decided not to ever go to that site again no matter what.  Great article Ramzy 

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

luckynewman13's picture

"Alex is a professional, not some dude in his basement tweeting every 16yo in the country.  You aren't, are you Al?"
 
NOT cool, man

Doc's picture

I better quit for today, it seems my humor is not translating so good over the interwebs. ;/

"Say my name."

Maestro's picture

The point was that using reliable sources on Twitter is a way to get updated information on all kinds of topics.  At least I think that was the point.

vacuuming sucks

Doc's picture

Maestro for the win.

"Say my name."

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I use Twitter mostly as a newsfeed, and a guide to other things online I might find interesting. The people I follow basically curate the Web for me, for free. It's quite a service. It makes me more productive rather than less.
There's nothing at all wrong with Twitter, or even tweeting at a stranger on occasion (I got into a fun little war of tweets with a mouthy Gator fan after the Gator Bowl). The problem comes when one starts imagining a deep and abiding friendship based off this extremely superficial Twitter tie. But that's a problem with human nature, not with Twitter or online life generally.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Maestro's picture

excellent post
I was very resistant to joining Twitter, but I find it my 2nd favorite place to be on-line behind 11W.  For the exact reasons Chuck explained.  I can tailor the internet to my interests in short little bursts and pursue the things I want to learn more about at my choosing.

vacuuming sucks

Denny's picture

Do you want to be Twitter bros 
Y [ ]  N [ ]

Taquitos.

Baroclinicity's picture

You forgot
[ ]  MAYBE

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Denny's picture

We live in a binary world, Baroclinicity.

Taquitos.

Maestro's picture

I already follow you Dennis.  So Y.

vacuuming sucks

Denny's picture

!! I don't know which one you are :(

Taquitos.

Maestro's picture

Look for a Maestro

vacuuming sucks

JakeBuckeye's picture

The only problem I have with this comment is your shot at Twitter and Facebook as a whole. I have a Twitter and a Facebook, but I only "follow" and I'm only "Facebook friends" with my friends/acquaintances in real life and people from my past. Both websites are amazing tools to stay connected and reconnect with people, and only a small percentage of users use it primarily to follow their team's recruits or do creepy things with it.

Doc's picture

What I have seen of Facebook is very limited at best, but what I have seen is more of a "look at me, see how great I am" type thing.  My wife is on FB and she shows me some pictures my sister posts once in a while.  Most captions from my wife's friends are bragging about how great their lives are, how wonderful their husbands are and how brilliant their kids are.  Yawn!  I know these people their lives ain't that great, neither are their husbands or kids.  People must like FB and twitter, why else would you use them?  I'm just an old curmudgeon, just ignore me like my wife and kids do :/.

"Say my name."

pcon258's picture

yea this story was pretty eye opening. definitely changed my own thoughts on twitter. in the past i followed a couple big time recruits, and current players, but over the last few days i have unfollowed almost all of them. ill just leave it to the beat writers to retweet anything they say that is of note to me.

Squirrel Master's picture

I don't care what anyone says about you Ramzy. you did the right thing. Waugh had no business being around underage kids. If he was in photos with Pryor there is nothing illegal about that. Pryor was over 18, but these kids are not. Anyone who doubts when someone does what feels right is an idiot. If there was nothing wrong, then no harm. It was obvious something wasn't right. Good call!
 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Taspra's picture

IMO this is not about one recruit, the football program or tOSU. This is much bigger than that. When we as fans and human beings get so crazed about a sport that we are willing to overlook things and just keep quiet when things aren't right, that is a sad statement on the human race. Then people have the nerve to blast Ramzy and the others who actually did the right thing? Shame on you. I hope those that did that never have children that need an adult to step forward for them one day. Think just a while back when everyone was blasting Mike Mcqueary for not doing something that fateful day in the locker room showers. People everwhere wanted his head. "I would have (insert violence of choice here)" was a common theme. So if this is the way people react to someone doing the right thing even if it hurts their beloved football program it's no wonder people don't get involved.
I don't care if the kid is 10 years old or 20 years old. He is someone's child. It was the right thing to do and I applaude Ramzy and the others for stepping up.

NW Buckeye's picture

Ramzy,  Great article but almost did not get past the Warhol like mural of the perp.  Kind of made me throw up just looking at it.  Had a worse impact than a negative gray box, but once I saw you were the author I continued reading.  Please no more pics of this person....  

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I deliberately made the pic scary - doing so tied into the Wes Craven/horror article title effectively.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Alerting OSU was absolutely the right thing to do!!! If it were my kid, I'd be thankful that it was discovered and dealt with swiftly instead of over reacting in such a fashion.  Having said that, it is most certainly their choice to go where ever they feel is in their best interest.  However, I refuse to be driven to a point that I am tweeting hostility and vitriol towards Alex or his family!  We are a passionate group but to be anything other than feeling or expressing disappointment is excessive and over the line!  Those who have tweeted hatred and anger to Alex and his family do not represent the Buckeye Nation and need to grow up and get a fucking life!
 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Maestro's picture

Very well said.

vacuuming sucks

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Without question the only thing to do.   That creep deserves to be locked up and Ramzy helped make that happen.   bravo.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

BuckDavis's picture

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Unless I'm really missing something, it seems clear to me you did the right thing by reporting that guy. It's sort of troubling to me as an OSU fan that some others attacked you for it.
I only hope that any further news stories about this pedophile Buckeye fan associating with recruits also note that it was hardcore Buckeye fans that reported this guy and brought it to light in the first place.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Welcome out of the shadows!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

WHOLLY BUCKEYE's picture

Another long-time, first-time.  Second this, and also what has been said many times here before - damn, Ramzy, but you can write.  Glad you're one of ours.

Just watchin' the clock on the wall, 'til I can go to the place I love most of all...

njcro's picture

PLEASE take this guys mug off your blog.  Disturbs me everytime i see it.  You're probably seeing less return visitors today than you have in the past. 

wrockhold's picture

Can we get a ramzy "twitter police?" tshirt? I'd buy one.
A portion of the proceeds could go towards something like, "prevent child molesters from scaring away recruits."
  
 

WildMan Leather and Lace's picture

Reading this article and clicking on the links made me more confused than ever regarding twitter.  Literally, I don't understand what they are writing. Haha!

Jugdish's picture

I want to thank you for the work that you do Ramzy. I wasn't observant enough to recognize that there could be a problem. People my age mostly are not very good at Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, or even what that damn poptart cat means.
I hope that Alex recommits to OSU and doesn't let this little bump in the road get in his way. There are many more hurdles in life that he will face and he cannot just run away. Alex will not find greater fans and university than tOSU. I wish his family well.

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

buckeyes411's picture

Anzalone needs to return!

Buckeyeneer's picture

I just look at that picture of Waugh and just think of Dead Man on Campus, "Some people eat bugs."

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

SC Buckeye's picture

I personally don't want Alex Anzalone, now.  If his "stage dad," Sal, has that much influence on him then let him go where that's acceptable.  I am very frustrated with the Eric Waugh situation, but to base your decision on a fluke interaction with a rogue "fan" is completely ludicrous.  I'm gonna bet that there are some sex offenders that root for Penn State.  Oh wait, they actually let them coach...
 
Good job Ramzy; and 11W Alex, keep up the good work.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Your comment really makes you think you didn't even read the article past seeing a picture of Waugh at the beginning.

SC Buckeye's picture

I read the article, along with other articles on this site and elsewhere.  I guess that I should clarify.  Was the retweet and follow on Twitter an accident?  Nope; Waugh did that willingly.  In all the articles that I have read, the thing that the Anzalone's have stated that influenced the decision is the fact that a sex offender, Waugh, got that close to him in person (the picture.)   Columbus is a pretty big city and so is the campus. I am pretty sure that there are many Sports Bars near campus for people to go to after a sporting event.  Unless it was advertised, through electronic media or otherwise, that either Waugh or Anzalone were going to be at the Sports Bar, then I consider the upclose and personal interaction a fluke.  As I stated earlier, this is the only interaction, that I have seen, that has been stated that was the defining issue.
Do I condone ANYTHING that Eric Waugh has done?  OH HELL NO.  Did I read the articles and formulate a educated reply based on the information that I gathered?  I most certainly did.

JakeBuckeye's picture

At the same time, there were some scorned fans who were openly critical of Anzalone's family decision to decommit from Ohio State. I saw unsolicited tweets to links from the sex offender registry showing where registered offenders lived proximate to the Anzalones' home in Pennsylvania. I saw hostile reactions to a private family's personal decision from a fan base I'm a part of that made me hate myself by association.

You must have missed this part of the article, then.

SC Buckeye's picture

You have completely lost me.  Are you comparing my comment about sex offenders coaching at Penn State to fanatics that can't let things go?  I don't see how a one-off, frustrated comment is comparable to someone going out of their way to look up on a sex offender registry and point out the offenders that surround this family's home.  Hell, I don't even know where they live other than it's some town in PA.  
Am I going to cry myself to sleep because a father told his teenage son that he doesn't want him to go to a certain college? No.  Am I going to harass the man and attack his place of business because of this decision? No.  Am I going to go out of my way to "stalk" this family and make it my life's goal to show them that I believe that they are making a big mistake by not joining "my" team? Not even for a second. But, will I make a comment in frustration when I feel that someone uses an "excuse" not to do something?  You're damn right that I will.  I believe that this man is using the fact that a fluke personal interaction that occured and he is telling his son not to select a school that his son may want to pick based off of this and now that it is getting press he is back pedaling something fierce.  I would be just as frustrated if it was a kid that went to my daughter's high school and it was a school that I didn't care about.
I feel that you generalizing me and lumping me into a group of people that are commiting borderline criminal harassment is a disservice to the website to which that you are a contributor.  I agree with Ramzy, and coincidentally you, in saying that I am embarassed that the fanatics of the great university that I am a fan of have stooped to the level of children to "get back" at a man for making a decision.

buckeyedude's picture

So if this was "Creepgate," what was that over at State Penn?

 

 

Alhan's picture

"Horrifyinggate"

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Idaho Helga's picture

I totally agree ^^^ and as a Mom if I saw a pic of my kid w/ a pervert who was trying to befriend him...yikes. A bit of overreaction or a look at other GOOD OFFERS would be NORMAL even though tOSU was clearly not involved. It gets down to your comfort level. I hope they reconsider but the haters/unrealistic/etc out there will kill the whole damn thing with their venom.

I don't like twitter; I understand many of you do. But the downside is there. I don't feel a need to "be connected" 24/7. I am in the IT field and I think for youth particularly the twitter and facebook stuff is too much "loook at me!!" I can put something up I would not do/report/discuss in person and not feel serious, personal rejection, only "liked" or an impersonal text back (no voice, no interaction). My sister in law posts daily to her facebook page with items like "did the laundry, got the bills paid" etc.....oh, I love her dearly but WTF NOBODY cares.

People close to me matter. Real Conversations with emotion, voice intonations. Interaction.

/end of rant

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

This is why my old ass doesn't facespace or mybook or twit. What happened to the good old days of going about your day without anyone giving a rip? Technology isn't always a good thing for human interaction. Unless you own stock in such things.