Buckeye Grove and Its Underrated Value to the Ohio State Football Program

By Nicholas Jervey on April 19, 2014 at 6:00a
Yard work ≠ hard work.

Photo via Jerod Smalley

27 Comments

Yesterday afternoon, players from the losing Scarlet team had to spruce up the trees in Buckeye Grove. Some of them were happier to do it than others; for instance, Braxton Miller's smile was countenanced by Stephen Collier's mulchiness.

Buckeye Grove is one of OSU's oldest football traditions, dating to 1934 along with the Gold Pants. Buckeye Grove contains 186 trees, one for every First Team All-American in OSU football history. Each tree has a plaque of one of those All-Americans, from Chic Harley to 2013 honorees Ryan Shazier and Jack Mewhort. The grove will expand over time and outgrow its surroundings. It is living history, and a unique way of remembering past greats.

Maintaining Buckeye Grove ought to be a high priority for the football program as it is more valuable tradition than many think. Much like The Grove and Toomer's Oaks are cultural touchstones for Ole Miss and Auburn, Buckeye Grove could be a touchstone for OSU.

Not every tradition has intrinsic value. For example, see Brady Hoke's infatuation with Ohio or Ron Prince's hilariously dated attempt to get Kansas State fans to wave power towels. Valuable traditions, though, are worth promoting.

Since Urban Meyer took the Ohio State job in 2011, he has instilled several activities that could become valuable traditions. One of them has been for the team that loses the spring game to maintain Buckeye Grove. The recent emphasis on Buckeye Grove shows another nifty trait about school traditions: nesting a smaller tradition within a larger tradition gives the larger tradition more depth and benefits the program as a whole.

Buckeye fans would be loathe to admit it, but Michigan's football history is every bit as proud as Ohio State's. And yet, only 15,000 fans showed up for Michigan's spring game as opposed to Ohio State's 61,000. Why? Aside from the population differences in Ann Arbor and Columbus, Michigan has never made the spring game seem as important.

Even a drearier Buckeye Grove is welcome in the fall.
Buckeye Grove connects Ohio Stadium to the rest of the main campus.

With good traditions, their growth in popularity is an ouroboros. Why is OSU's spring game so important? Because many people go to it. Why do so many people go to it? Because it's more entertaining than other spring games. What makes it more entertaining than other spring games? Its importance. And so on.

The more the university touts Buckeye Grove, the greater importance fans will place on it. And the more a tradition grows, the more Ohio State can add to Ohio State's football legacy, bringing in more fans and money and prestige. Needless to say, those help the program.

Often times, Ohio State's mishmash of architectural motifs (brick, glass, concrete, and sheet metal) detracts from the campus atmosphere. Buckeye Grove is an aesthetic haven next to the concrete that surrounds it on all sides.

Buckeye Grove was relocated to the southwest corner of the stadium during Ohio Stadium's renovations in 2001. It now sits between Ohio Stadium, Morrill Tower, university tennis courts and the Recreational & Physical Activity Center (RPAC). Intentional or not, Buckeye Grove serves as a connection between Ohio Stadium and North Campus. 

Some universities with off-campus stadiums are doomed never to have strong football traditions. South Florida fans have to drive 20 minutes away from campus to get to Raymond James Stadium, and UMass's stadium is an incredible 90 miles away. The Metrodome was only a mile away from the University of Minnesota's campus, yet any Golden Gopher fan would tell you moving to on-campus TCF Bank Stadium is the best thing Minnesota has done for recruiting in decades.

A university's connection to its football team has a lot to do with its stadium's placement. It's a way to connect the football stadium to to the rest of the campus. The Schottenstein Center suffers from being a mile away from residents halls, and even St. John Arena is isolated by parking lots and busy intersections. Buckeye Grove's walkways integrate Ohio Stadium into the main campus, giving the stadium cachet.

Buckeye Grove is not the grandest Ohio State football tradition. Aside from the week after the spring game and whenever another OSU athlete becomes a First Team All-American, it's often disregarded. But it's another aspect of Ohio State football that's entirely positive, and something the university ought to pay greater attention to.

27 Comments

Comments

CarolinaBuck's picture

I have no idea what "ourouboros" means.

+10 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

It's depicted by a serpent swallowing it's own tail & is a symbol of continual rebirth.
 

+3 HS
CarolinaBuck's picture

I'll bet you had to look that definition up

+5 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

What can I say, it was the Word of the Day on my calendar. (Actually, I'm familiar with it through the Fullmetal Alchemist series.)

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

JKH1232's picture

Really?  I'm familiar with it because it's Dana Scully's tramp stamp.  I think I win the nerd-off, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

You would lose that bet.

+3 HS
cinserious's picture

I don't think I would be able to solve for it on 'Wheel Of Fortune' even for a cool million bucks...I'd get 'Achilles' though:/

Gone ham, be back soon...

+3 HS
BoFuquel's picture

Yeah Coach Drayton was real happy to be a part of it. Like I say listen to what is said not what you want to here. Things are not cohesive in the land of the worlds slowest hurry-up offense. If his guys don't run the show as they have in the past (which they probably will ) he will be pissed permanently. All is not well in C-BUS chink, chink, chink. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

-10 HS
Oldschoolbuck's picture

I really didn't "here" (assume you meant hear) Coach Drayton say anything, Bo. Not really sure what your point is, either. Obviously there are some other 11-dubbers that are puzzled as well (given the dv's). Was it a tough Friday night, 'cuz the words are English but they don't make much sense? BTW, I'm not dv'ing you - just curious...

+2 HS
InvertMyVeer's picture

It's an awesome tradition. During the spring game broadcast Earle was asked about his favorite Buckeye traditions and he mentioned two, the grove and the gold pants.

Football is complicated...

+3 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

Mr. Collier, I hope you are fortunate enough to have your name under one of those trees someday.  You will look back on this day with proud memories.  Good luck young man. 

+7 HS
Crimson's picture

I know we should all respect Buckeye Grove, but I'm wondering if we're in for a new tradition.  How long before someone pees on Mewhort's tree and runs away?

+3 HS
703Buckeye's picture

Who's to say Jack hasn't already done it?

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+5 HS
703Buckeye's picture

M!chigan can't use the population of Ann Arbor as an excuse for their lame spring game attendance. Penn State had 75k at their spring game and tiny Happy Valley is just about as isolated as the moon.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+5 HS
Kurt's picture

A co-worker went to the PSU Spring Game last weekend from NYC.

+1 HS
Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

And its not like its more than an half hour away from greater (err sorry) Detroit.  Oh wait.  Never mind.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Penn State had 75k at their spring game and tiny Happy Valley is just about as isolated as the moon.

There's a lot of undocumented troglodytes in them hills.

+3 HS
Kurt's picture

So any idea what other organizations were out there helping out?

Also, because Nicholas sort of touches on the topic, for an idea of how Buckeye Grove may eventually fit into the campus design check out the OSU Campus Masterplan.

+2 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

That's a fascinating bit of university planning. Along the same lines, the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State has its own overview of what Buckeye Grove brings to the university and its goals for connecting different parts of the university (dorms, Ohio Stadium, and the RPAC). That's where one of the photos in this story comes from, actually.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

hetuck's picture

I miss the annual Vrabel tweet about taking care of his tree. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

+7 HS
Buck Commander's picture

Awesome tradition.......The Buckeyes are Fuckin Awesome......I Love It!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

+1 HS
mtrotb's picture

Sad thing is Braxton will leave as the most decorated player ever in Big Ten-already is with 7 individual awards and Orlando Pace is 2nd with 5 and Braxton will add to it this year, but he will leave probably not being an All-American since he won't have obscene passing totals.

mtrotb

-1 HS
JakeBuckeye's picture

UMASS having a home football stadium 90 miles away is perhaps the stupidest thing I've heard all month.

+1 HS
thatlillefty's picture

what position does that chick play? she looks fast

+3 HS
4cornersbuck's picture

A former player who has a tree in the grove when asked how anyone could find his tree said "It's the one with the biggest nuts".

4cornersbuck

+5 HS
seafus26's picture

Lol. Do you remember who it was?

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!