Everything is Illuminated

By Ramzy Nasrallah on April 16, 2013 at 11:30a

mark may wears women's underwear


Two offseasons ago when Ohio State was preparing for its first season under Luke Fickell, I participated in an ESPN media conference call that was open to all FWAA members.

There were three reasons why I dialed in: First, the Summer of Tatgate was drawing to a close and I was ready for actual football like no other year in my life. Second, the event was scheduled on top of a meeting at work that I really didn't want to go to, giving me a truthful "I have a conference call" excuse that allowed me to bail out.

And third, ESPN had chosen Lou Holtz and Mark May to host call, which was to be a discussion of the upcoming college football season.

The phone lines would be open, the callers would be safely out of Holtz's spitting range and I had a few questions for two of the men who help shape the perception of the college football title race at a network which owns 95% of the postseason.

ESPN, despite operating a behemoth news organization (which is run by an Ohio State graduate) is far more engaged in concocting and creating content than simply reporting it. Its modus operandi was a bad rumor in 2005 that became largely accepted by 2011 and is now ridiculed daily by sites like Awful Announcing today.

Raw news that isn't repackaged by ESPN's production staff has strong potential to be mundane, causing you to find another option that holds your attention better than ESPN simply channeling Walter Cronkite.

This is why routine ground balls are now "Web Gems" and why the most benign sports bulletin suddenly merits a heated debate or inelegantly invoking Tim Tebow.

Holtz and May were deliberately cast as ESPN's opening act for college football. They're essentially the local act that keeps the crowd warm until Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit can take the main stage on Saturdays (Desmond Howard is not a full band member; he's more like Ben Carr from Mighty Mighty Bosstones who doesn't actually play an instrument but is at every concert awkwardly dancing on stage with the band).

People generally love Holtz, who serves as a classic protagonist. Notre Dame has a statue of him on campus even though he left a big mess when he departed, just as he did with every single other school on his coaching resume.

It's Holtz's enthusiasm and relentlessly positive demeanor that make him so likeable. He's Dick Vitale without the facetious insight, transparently whorish self-promotion or extremely punchable face. Casting the right antagonist to fulfill the Odd Couple dichotomy makes May a perfect fit for ESPN's narrative-building.

Holtz is old and white; May is young(er) and black. Holtz is upbeat and gregarious while May takes himself and his opinions very, very seriously. Holtz is self-effacing and unafraid of making a mockery of himself, while May is only too happy to help Holtz ridicule Holtz.

urkel + donuts = fat urkel

I truly have no idea if May genuinely hates Ohio State football.

It's a little too convenient to leap to arbitrary conclusions, like the Buckeyes' ruthless 72-0 bludgeoning of his alma mater 17 years ago as being the catalyst for his consistent badgering. I do think there's evidence that he's aligned with ESPN's core competence of keeping viewers engaged longer than they should be.

Love and hate are interchangeably valued at the Worldwide Leader, because neither involves ambivalence. Were it not for his #hot #takes, May's sole contribution to college football coverage would be briskly rumbling through the statistics fed to him by ESPN staffers without pausing to breathe.

That's just filler, though; he's not sitting across from Holtz just to read stats. Anyone can do that. David Pollack does that. Robert Smith does that. Neither incites emotions like May does, which is why they're both role players largely used to occupy time and extend the network's coverage.

May's poor performance as a serious analyst, both on the air and on his Twitter feed, is a gold mine for broken English, overt trolling and lousy predictions. The latter is worth following just for entertainment value; he even uses it to jinx otherwise great players:

Naturally, Wilson had easily his worst game of the entire regular season following May's Twitter hex. Beyond common witchcraft, May can also get both nuanced and cryptic:

This is a transitive message. May is telling you that Kate Upton's haircut is ghastly.

His ESPN colleagues appear to be forced by producers to casually refer to him as "Mayday," which is also both an international distress signal as well as an enormous, creepy stadium in North Korea (this may or may not be coincidental). When he routinely goes out of his way to antagonize Ohio State fans it could either be a genuine, deep-seated hatred or a cry for help.

But there is a third possibility that isn't nearly as fun as reminiscing Ohio State's seven-touchdown romp over his Pitt Panthers: May may not actually be himself on television or Twitter. Stephen Colbert is a virtuoso in this dark art: He could just be playing a caricature intended to illicit a reaction.

Yes, it's conceivable Mark May is simply playing the part of an unlikable character named Mark May.

While there isn't any evidence to May's true Ohio State feelings, there is plenty that supports Buckeye football content moving the needle at ESPN to the tune of a full-blown obsession. The network was leading off SportsCenters with Maurice Clarett stories as late as 2005, two full years after his final college football game.

And you don't need any reminders of how distorted, repetitive and preoccupied its Tatgate coverage was, especially compared to the nastier scandals that followed it.

The bias ESPN displays toward round-the-clock coverage of a petty cash/tattoo cover-up in Columbus is the same one that spent seven weeks hyping the 2006 team prior to the BCS title game and five days trailing Urban Meyer around the WHAC last August: The bias toward larger viewing audiences.

Still, there is one piece of evidence on which everyone can agree: May looks exactly like Steve Urkel from Family Matters, but with a slight weight problem. Your eyes aren't lying.


That conference call back in 2011 began with Holtz and May giving their thoughts on the upcoming season. May was his usual self, blowing through his prepared notes at a pace too swift for anyone to process the information he was relaying. When the two hosts were finished the phone lines were opened.

I asked the following question, verbatim:

ESPN is enormously influential in how teams are seeded in rankings and how a particular team narrative is portrayed and established throughout the media, and you both along with Rece Davis do a great job of capturing that essence every night after all of the games have been played. Last season five SEC schools lost their bowl games, but you’d never know that based on how the conference is discussed and routinely portrayed on ESPN, and Coach Holtz already talked about Texas A&M’s challenges against Texas with the Longhorn Network, which is an ESPN venture.

Can you talk about the role that ESPN’s partnerships with the Southeastern Conference and the University of Texas in particular will impact your ongoing narrative and analysis throughout the upcoming season?

The moderator – Mike Humes – interjected and said the question was inappropriate for the forum, but Holtz and May refused to play along and insisted on answering it: First, Holtz laughed and jovially said he always speaks his mind on and off the air, saying 'it's better to be the organ grinder than the monkey.'

May's tone was far more serious, and he angrily declared that no one has ever told him what to say – and furthermore – that ESPN has no agenda. He said the latter bit twice: ESPN has no agenda. It's a laughably dishonest statement.

ESPN is the largest conflict of interest known to mankind, or at least that's what that Ohio State grad in charge of ESPN's news division openly says. Everyone has an agenda, especially a publicly traded venture airing games it paid billions to broadcast while also no-so-objectively covering sports at large (the NHL sends its regards).

But following the call it occurred to me there was a possibility that May might be insulated from his employer's larger strategy.

Maybe he really is a football purist uninterested in the corporation's big picture guidance of its coveted broadcasting assets. Perhaps he's just laser-focused on delivering the best college football analysis possible, without bias or discretion to what executives would want to be communicated.

Then I remembered who I was giving the benefit of the doubt to, and spit-laughed out loud just as Holtz had minutes earlier. Whatever, Fat Urkel.



dubjayfootball90's picture

I like Holtz, I saw him speak in Cleveland once to a bunch of area captains on HS football teams. Shook his hand and spoke to him face to face for a few minutes. Real nice guy and a straight shooter.
I hate Mark May Fat Urkel

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Maestro's picture

I too have had the pleasure of listening to him speak at a conference.  He was very accommodating with his time and gave a good speech.  He is a funnier speaker than I had anticipated.

vacuuming sucks

RedStorm45's picture

I, for one, am sick of this obsession with Mark May.  Still, a well-written article.

rkylet83's picture

I too am sick of him, but I think getting away from him is largely impossible if you want to watch Ohio State football.  Unless we're on BTN, we are stuck watching ESPN and unless you go out of your way to mute the channel (like my dad) you will unfortunately hear his tactless barbs and taunts.  It would be nice to watch a game without having to listen to his arrogant BS. 

lamplighter's picture

 A liberal use of the mute button is recommended

Northbrook's picture

I agree. Women's underwear or something, whatever. 
However, well written as always by Ramzy.

bowthrock's picture

I heard Mark May wears women's underwear! That is all.

"Lets beat the shit out of Michigan".... Urban. Frank. Meyer.

jthiel09's picture

GREAT artile Ramzy ... you never dissapoint.
Your Might Might Bosstones reference had me almost spit laugh out loud at work.
Fat Urkel comments never get old.


ssant's picture

I saw that dude dancing around the stage back in 1999.  I hope he has given it up by now!

Doc's picture

I understand that MARK MAY WEARS WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR!  He also sucks at his job.

"Say my name."

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

My problem is that we don't have confirmation that MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR.  Right now, it's only a rumor that MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR.  Perhaps someone will be willing to verify whether or not MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR?  Please don't misunderstand me, I don't want the task of determining whether MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR.  My eyes might burn if I actually saw that MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR - and I just don't want to take that risk.  Perhaps we would have confirmation of whether MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR if we typed it over and over on an internet message board like this:  MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR MARK MAY WEARS WOMENS UNDERWEAR.  It's just a thought.  I wouldn't want an untruthful internet rumor to get started.   

It's not that hard to be a good apprentice.

brylee's picture

it can't be a rumor....i read it on the internet!

Boxley's picture

I cannot believe that someone down voted you on that. I am still laughing, good job, plus 1 from me.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Down vote = proof May reads 11W.

CincyOSU's picture

Mark May can read???

OSU_ALUM_05's picture

All narcissists can at least read their names.......someone must have helped him with the underpants part.

It's not that hard to be a good apprentice.

xrox's picture

This is all assuming he did all the necessary steps to seem like a legitimate poster to garner voting rights.
This is too much of stretch for one Mark May.

gerry30's picture

Mark May does NOT wear women's underwear! He wear's Braddy's.


onetakedizzle's picture

Do you guys think it's possible that Craig James confided any alleged information about his involvement or lack of involvement with the mysterious disappearance of five innocent ladies in a Dallas area suburb to Mark May? 

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

NC_Buckeye's picture

Remember the 5 references never fail to get a chuckle out of me.

Grantschu54's picture

I believe the real question is if Mark May was the sixth hooker.

What do you need water for, Sunshine? We're Stretching and You're a Kicker!

onetakedizzle's picture

ALLEGED sixth.

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

Hovenaut's picture

May there be a month without Mark May? In May?
He's bad enough on-air, the tweets aren't helping him a bit. Did he play school at Pitt?

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme

biggy84's picture

Terrific article! 

NC_Buckeye's picture

BTW, Ramzy the Warholian image was well played. Andy would approve.

babbski's picture

The caption was even better.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I totally missed the caption. You get a helmet sticker.

Poison nuts's picture

Mark May? ....Never heard of him.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Squirrel Master's picture

I find it funny that May says "No one has ever told him what to say". Isn't he married? If he went to court, would he ignore his lawyer and say what he wants despite the outcome? (I do hope so!) It truly makes me laugh to hear such ignorance and egotism all spun into a ball of yarn that meathead calls a skull. He just does not get it.
oh, almost forgot, there are these people that are called PRODUCERS. Their jobs tend to tell the on air talent what to talk about, discuss and for how long. They might not force him to give an opinion that is not his but none the less, they do tell him what he can and can't talk about. Not to mention the little agency known as the FCC.
I don't watch their horrible show as much as possible unless I really am trying to catch a highlight, but that still does make me want them to cancel the show and fire the whole lot. I don't hate Holtz but he could use the retirement and Reece Davis is the MC of the worst sports show ever, he is culpable IMO and must go all the same.

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

PG_BUCK's picture

Great article!! The obvious bias in ESPNs reporting and their direct ties to conferences is why I have all but stopped watching them.


Gametime's picture

"He's Dick Vitale without the facetious insight, transparently whorish self-promotion or extremely punchable face."


Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

BuckeyeSki's picture

I thought having to stare at that awful JoePa picture in Ramzy's article last week was cruel and unusual offseason punishment. I stand corrected after having to stare at "Mayday" x8 today....

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

CALPOPPY's picture

Actually, it's 13...not counting the skinny Urkle one. Even worse.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

RunEddieRun1983's picture

Well written, well said, but I still like may better than the turncoat, pretty boy we call Kirk Herbstreit.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Doc's picture

Frosted Tips?  He's harmless.

"Say my name."

Grantschu54's picture

I don't get the Herbstreit hate. Is it so bad that he comes off as impartial on a network with blowhards like Mark May are on. It would be completely stupid to think that just because he went to OSU that he should go on air speaking the glory's of Ohio State. He would be a laughing stock just like Fat Urkel. As for the Torg incident, it doesn't matter if the Torg went too far on his statements. I'm not going to fault Herbstreit for defending a friend even if he is a Michigan player. If somebody attacks my friends from Michigan I would defend them just the same. 

What do you need water for, Sunshine? We're Stretching and You're a Kicker!

luckynewman13's picture

I don't get this "at least he's impartial" argument.
He's often critical of our team in constructive ways: great. awesome.
My problem with Kirk is that we all remember how ESPN and SI ripped us over tatgate, most of us would probably say unfairly. I don't recall Kirk putting up the slightest defense of us that year (at least on espn, perhaps on local radio).
But every time the Cam Newton issue came up, Kirk was right on queue: "we don't know anything yet, let's wait for all the facts, innocent until proven guilty, blah blah blah."
It's not like I am a person who wants to hate the guy, he's a Buckeye. But from what I recall--from that very dark year--ESPN, SI, and the like, used a few unfortunate truths to paint a picture of Ohio State that was laughably false. And Kirk--as I recall--was mostly silent on the issue.
As I said, I don't want to dislike the guy. But I just look at him now and see a guy who's "sold out", for lack of a better phrase. 
(I did not downvote you, by the way)

Grantschu54's picture

I honestly think that it makes it better that he didn't say anything on behalf of OSU. He would have come off as homerish and he would of looked like a fool (like i felt Matt Millien did during the PSU scandal). 

What do you need water for, Sunshine? We're Stretching and You're a Kicker!

CincyOSU's picture

This Herbstreit stuff is getting old. It's your choice whether to like the man or not, but calling him a turncoat/traitor/fake buckeye is preposterous and just sounds foolish. He's doing a job, I would much rather him sound impartial than a blabbering, homer fool.

BuckeyeMark's picture

Many highlights in my life but one of the best was chanting "Mark May sucks!" from about 30 feet at the Sugar Bowl and enjoying the peeved look on his face.  Then the Bucks' senior captains came by and high fived all us fans as we hung over the railing.  THAT was greatness.

Poison nuts's picture

That was greatness for me watching at home too...thank you!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

steensn's picture

Love it, next time just ask "How low are you trying to get other conference's value so you can buy their rights outright as well?"

Dougger's picture

his character on air makes me not want to know who he is off air.

I like football

Wilkins78's picture

So the follow up question should have been:
"So the whole lack of coverage on SEC bowl losses was just that you're crappy at your jobs?"

Boxley's picture


"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

jeremytwoface's picture

May is just there to make people like you and me write stuff like this.
I'm kind of sick of it. Not saying that it's a bad article or you shouldn't have written it....
Whenever someone says "hey, did you hear what Mark May said about OSU?" I usually just say "yeah, he sucks" and move on.. whether I've heard it or not.
The bigger issue is the ESPN conflict of interest. It's just ridiculous and driven by the almighty dollar so it won't change.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

Idaho Helga's picture

I'm a believer in "all publicity is good" for these guys and I think May does actually hate us.  It works out for him that our fan base responds to his idiocy.  Ratings and attention pay the bills.

Hockey Buck's picture

Holtz knows what he is talking about and has great insight. His only problem is how much of an ND homer he is.  Keep mumbling on Loucifer. Mark May. Nuff said.

stevebelliseeya's picture

You know it's quality writing when you can make a fanbase read a novella on Mark May. Kudos Ramzy for smothering poop with maple syrup and giving us something edible for a Tuesday...

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

DJ Byrnes's picture

Too many words spilled over a guy who will only take things like this as more reasons to needle our fanbase. Much like the WBC, this guy is better left ignored.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

"Mark May is a boob."  - Skip Bayless

VABuckeyeInsanity's picture

Excellent Article!  Genius!

nickma71's picture

Who in the hell actually subscribes or follows twitter? The only place I see "tweets" are in stories like this because somebody is an imbicile.

German Buckeye's picture

It appears at least 8 down voters follow Twitter.  I think Twitter is the spawn of Satan and a sign of the coming apocalypse, but I'm old and don't really don't care what people are doing in the personal lives 24/7.   

RBuck's picture

My good friend Pete was a huge Notre Dame fan. When Pete was dying of cancer his co-workers sent a letter to Lou Holtz, along with a self addressed get well card, asking him to sign it. Holtz did more than that. He sent about a five paragraph personal letter to Pete and said he had several masses said for him at the ND chapel.
That's not all. Several days later a package arrived at Pete's house containing a Notre Dame Varsity jacket. All a note said was "God bless you Pete, Lou Holtz".
Pete was buried in it. Lou Holtz is a good man.

Long live the southend.

cplunk's picture

Wow. I previously mildly disliked him for no real reason. No more.

CALPOPPY's picture

Yeah, in high school (Hilliard) Lou came by when he was the current ND coach and met with a kid in my class that had suffered a brain aneurism a couple years before. The kid in my class had always been a ND fan and was a good quarterback before he suffered the injury. So I can get annoyed with Holtz but I won't talk bad about him - he's a good man.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Kaceybrown's picture

That's impressive character. 

jmw's picture

RE: Lou Holtz
If you happen to be passing through East Liverpool Ohio and are an avid Lou Holtz fan, you should visit the Lou Holtz Hall of Fame.  I was in East Liverpool for work (years ago) so I've been to the HOF a couple times. 


BrewstersMillions's picture

I don't hate Mark May. I nothing Mark May.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would be more obvious.

German Buckeye's picture

Agreed - its a vicious cycle with us Buckeye fans - the more we rail against his stupidness, the more of him gets air time.  If we simply ignore him like he didn't exist - he might just go away.  The "needle movement" Ramzy points out in the article would most likely stop if not for Buckeye fans. 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Mayday sucks, but at least he provides a nice, juicy, villianous role for all of us Buckeye fans. We call Carlos Hyde "El Guapo" (the handsome one), so call May "El Doucho" (the douchy one) and have some fun with it. It's great to be a Buckeye!

IBleedSandG's picture

"The sound of eight butts farting" That's some classic alt text right there!


Larryp713's picture

I love all the retweet's of Mark May's lowlights over the last couple of years. He certainly is a buttlog with legs.
By the way, as a newbie to twitter, I can tell you it is pretty fun. There are some very funny people out there, and I love #BuckeyeNation!



CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I think most of us agree Mark May is a ding dong (looks like ding dongs are his main food too :-)  ).  If anything he helps to bring Buckeye Nation closer together!!

Tom57's picture

Yes indeed Lou Holtz did the exact same thing for my Father In Law when he was dying of cancer.
I liked him before that b/c of his ties to OSU and  the 68 NC team. I've loved him ever since.
As for Mark May he is like Wolf Blitzer and Mike Wallace who are actors playing news people. Their objective is simple = RATINGS.
The two of them are indeed perfect.
Holtz appeals to the Midwestern audience and May to the South and West. Holtz to traditional smash mouth football and May to wide open offense.
Don't forget that the Blitzer/Wallace game is to take a fact regardless of how small and embed it in their standard stump position that something somewhere is evil.
For Wolfy it's Big Government, for Wallace Big Corporations and for May it's the B1G. In the end it's really pretty funny except that some people take it seriously.

buck-I.8's picture

My condolences to your father-in-law, but please try to keep your political agenda out of your posts, thank you.

DaiTheFlu's picture

I'm all for the 11W policy of no politics, but I don't see anything remotely resembling a "political agenda" in his statement. Mentioning Wolf Blitzer and Mike Wallace by name is in no way the same as broadcasting a political ideology.

We can't stop here; this is bat country...

45buckshot's picture

"actors playing news people" about sums it up 

Veni, vidi, vici


MN Buckeye's picture

We need something to do until football starts, so why not bash May?

Toilrt Paper's picture

I save my hate for the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

MN Buckeye's picture

I don't hate may, I just enjoy bashing him.  He is too pathetic to be hated.

Bucksfan's picture

I just can't get worked up over Mark May anymore.  That ship hath sailed.  It's easy enough to turn the channel, and that's exactly what I do.  My wife hasn't reached this serenity yet, and when i forget to turn the channel she gets REALLY worked up over the things Mark May says.  I look at her like, "where have you been for the last 6 years?  This still bothers you?"

ohiowhitesnake's picture

But the real question is does your wife get worked up when you change your icon?

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Mark May wears women's underwear.  And it gets lost up his fat asscrack.  The "Fat Urkel" nickname does a major injustice to Steve Urkel. 

Class of 2010.

Buckeyeholicwompa's picture

If Mark May is ever outside giving an analysis or blabbering about whatever he blabbers about, then I long for the day that a bird just comes along and takes the biggest shit a bird has ever taken right on MayDay himself, ON LIVE TV.

4thandinches's picture

People tune in to watch Lou Holtz and Mark May go at each others throats; it makes for great TV. If they both agreed, it would not be near as interesting. With Ohio State having the largest fan base, a large majority of people tuning in are Ohio State fans. People tune in to see what dumb thing Mark May is going to say against tOSU and then talk about it later, exactly what we are doing. ESPN knows what they are doing. 
Reminds me in pro wrestling how there is always at least one 'bad guy' who most people love to hate. Mark May is that bad guy.  

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

MuraliPatel's picture

If I was Jaleel White, I would be tremendously insulted by this comparison. Have you seen that guy lately? He is yolked. Not just a little yolked. All-Airport team level is what we're talking about. Mark May is an overweight has been who displays the mental capacity of a 12-year-old girl. White is neither overweight or unintelligent/unintelligible.