BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture


Member since 06 July 2013 | Blog

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Fellow Buckeyes, I didn't particularly care for college sports until the beautiful day in 2007 when I learned that I had been accepted to Ohio State's stellar Creative Writing MFA Program. From that moment, I have found great happiness in succumbing to the benign tribalism that comes with being a fan of Buckeye sports. (I don't REALLY think that the Wolverines are evil subhumans, but it's fun to engage in good-natured taunting.) Ohio State has a stellar history of nurturing both great writers and great athletes. I hope to contribute poems that will continue both traditions and reinforce that Buckeye sports are really a long and wonderfully complicated narrative.


  • SPORTS MOMENT: 2008 Michigan Game. At the Shoe. We win. (Of course.)
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Current: Kenny Guiton. Past: Brandon Saine.
  • COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYER: Current: Aaron Craft. Past: William Buford.
  • MLB TEAM: Detroit Tigers

Recent Activity

Comment 20 Jul 2014

I love that Kenny G is lighting it up SOMEWHERE.  While we love all of our Buckeye alums and wish all of them the best, is there anyone we're pulling for more than we are pulling for Guiton?

Comment 01 Jul 2014

While Duron certainly had his school-related problems, we all wish him well.  Perhaps he's one data point in favor of top prospects skipping college altogether if they're not exactly interested in the college part of college.

Comment 26 Jun 2014

If you read my signature, you'll see that my degree is "worthless" compared to a math degree.

Many math majors DO start studying at 6 am and don't stop until midnight.

The fact that we don't have more educational television (and that it's not as popular as other forms) is indeed a pity.

As I pointed out, all but a handful of athletics departments are in the red.  The school subsidizes them.  While the NCAA is indeed cleaning up, the schools are not.  Math majors usually don't receive scholarships, so they are taking out loans.  That money is going to subsidize athletics at all but a handful of schools.

I am sure that most math majors would gladly play football in exchange for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of value that college football players receive between the ages of 18 and 22.

Comment 25 Jun 2014

I agree; while I certainly understand Shangheyed's points, I respectfully disagree with most of them.

First, it's important to point out that the majority of math majors receive no scholarships or very small ones. 

Math majors are indeed free to get jobs, but I'm guessing that a math major would rather receive a full ride than take out massive loans and work for 8 dollars an hour at Cane's.  (It's not as though math majors are splitting their time between classes and serving as CEO for a multinational corporation.  Further, student-athletes are permitted to get jobs within the NCAA guidelines.


Not that I'm an expert, but it's my current understanding that SAs are allowed to sell their "personal property."  What they are not allowed to do is sell the property of the athletics department.  They're also not allowed to sell things on the basis of their SA status.  I could be wrong, but an SA can sell their futon on craigslist, so long as they don't try to do so on the basis of their status.

As for the risk of injury, SAs are more than welcome to stay out of school and work out until they can try to enter the league by other means.  Math majors certainly suffer the occasional health problem, but do not receive the kind of medical care SAs receive, and certainly not at so good a price.

All but a handful of ADs run in the black; the school subsidizes these programs.  For the vast majority of schools, athletics are a loss leader.

Math majors may not often be used to promote a college.  Then again, math majors don't receive full-ride scholarships as a matter of course.

SAs are not "owned."  They can leave the team or the school any time they like.  "Ransom" implies a kidnapping.  Again, this is not the case; an SA chooses his school and can choose to leave.  Further, it seems odd to imply that giving an 18-22-year-old hundreds of thousands of dollars of education, food, housing and more is unfair.  How many 18-22-year-olds make hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of those four years of their lives?

I do like the idea of guaranteeing more scholarships, and not only because it would restore some competitive balance.

Comment 24 Jun 2014

Again, only 2% will even MAKE the league.  When you think about the league minimum, you also have to slice it by half because of taxes.  Then 10% because of agent.  Maybe a publicist.  Then relatives who need a loan.  

And if they're already getting a full ride scholarship, should they be paid anything or allowed access to loans inaccessible to others?  And should we give this access to ALL players?  Just Braxton?  Should we include third-string linemen who could be replaced with pieces of cardboard?  $35K in loans is LESS than the financial equivalent most players receive now, as well.

Let's think about the other 98% of DI college football players.  Let's keep in mind the number who have full rides.  And who aren't in college to get an education.  And who leave after a couple years.  And who DON'T make it to the league and end up like Maurice Clarett.  And bear in mind that...

A Sports Illustrated article reports the grim statistics -- 78 percent of NFL players face bankruptcy or serious financial stress within just two years of leaving the game and 60 percent of NBA players face the same dire results in five years.


Here's a back-of-the-envelope calculation.  Let's be conservative and say that a second-string offensive lineman takes out $100K in debt.  He is great and we love him, but he doesn't make it to the league.  He gets a tryout with the Jaguars, but that's it.

If they take out $100K of completely unnecessary debt (he had a full ride, after all) and pays back over 20 years and actually stayed for all four years and graduated, the monthly payment will be...

Monthly Loan Payment:$763.34

Number of Payments:240
Cumulative Payments:$183,201.36

Total Interest Paid:$83,201.36


Or..........he can owe ZERO, as is the case in the current system.

Comment 24 Jun 2014

The statement says:

The tradition and spirit of intercollegiate athletics is unique to our nation. Students play as part of their overall academic experience, not for a paycheck or end-of-season bonus. Many also compete in hopes of a professional career, just as our biology majors serve internships and musical theater students perform in summer stock. These opportunities – sports, marching band, campus newspaper, and more – are facets of the larger college experience and prepare students for life. And that, in its purest form, is the mission of higher education. 

There's a HUGE difference between college football athletes and bio and musical theater majors.  The latter often don't receive scholarships at all.  They definitely don't receive health care.  Or early registering for classes.  Or the kind of tutoring that student-athletes receive.  They don't receive clothing and usually don't receive free room and board.  Those who edit and write the campus newspaper don't receive special gen ed classes offered ONLY to newspaper writers.  These people don't receive travel funds to and from home.  They don't receive free Gatorade and trips around the country and the kind of academic support that DI student-athletes receive.  They don't get housing allowances or valuable trophies or bowl gifts.  Non-athletes graduate with, on average, tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, something that isn't a necessity for student-athletes who play football or basketball and receive a scholarship.

Comment 24 Jun 2014

Again, I respect your point of view.  I just don't think that your position can represent the vast majority of student-athletes.  Braxton Miller?  We all hope he makes some serious bank.  Think about someone like Aaron Craft.  Did we all love his play?  Sure.  Was he a critical part of some great teams?  Of course.  We all hope that he's going to medical school, but look at the options:

The current situation: Craft has (or should have) zero undergraduate student loan debt.  He received superlative perks during his years in Columbus.

An alternate situation: Craft could have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.  He gets drafted by some NBA team in the late rounds and receives the minimum.  Which is cut in half by taxes.  Then by 10% by his agent.  Then you factor in all of the other expenses.  AND he has to pay back that student loan debt.  If he signs a LeBron contract, the debt isn't a problem,  but for every other journeyman NBA player...it is a pretty big concern.  And if he wants to go to medical school, that's another, say, hundred grand in debt.

And student loan debt is FAR different from buying an expensive house with a stupid mortgage.  As I pointed out, those players who buy the cool cars and watches are often part of the majority of players who end up "broke." (That documentary really is great.)

Comment 23 Jun 2014

I'm happy to be on record as hoping the best for Duron.  Maybe he would have been better served bypassing college.  (Even though we would have missed out on a small part of his talent.)

Comment 23 Jun 2014

With all due respect, I don't think that $140,000 of debt is a good idea for someone who is getting a Bachelor's degree in General Studies or Kinesiology or anything else, really.  That's more than four times the average student loan debt.  (I think the average was 28K.)

Further, look at how short pro careers are and how few players actually make big bank.  (You should also watch the great ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, "Broke.")  If 2% of players make it to the pros and a fraction of those make significant money, you're hanging a massive financial albatross over their heads.  (And we know that many DI athletes are not exactly from rich families.)

More significantly, I suspect that $35,000 is a LOT less than the average DI player receives in tuition, room/housing allowance, food, travel expenses, bowl gifts, health care, etc.

And perhaps even MORE significantly, how does Title IX play into this?  If you're literally giving football players (male) a credit line, what must you do for other athletes and for female athletes?

Comment 15 Jun 2014

Great question, Hilliard WB.  I have to say the players should sing it after every game.  We should be proud and classy in defeat as well as victory. 

And I guess I never thought of Carmen as a fight song; it's more about school pride and partnership and our eternal identity as Buckeyes.  Right?  That team up north that doesn't win very much might have a problem with their "Hail" song, but Carmen has a different message.

Comment 04 Jun 2014

Here comes the nerdy: This phenomenon is called "Pareidolia."

Why do we see Brutus in an onion?  Faces in the geological features of Mars?  It has been to our evolutionary advantage to try and lend some shape and meaning to the randomness around us.  Think of it this way.  You're a "caveman" walking around the African savannah.  You hear a bunch of branches crack and start running, guessing there's a hungry panther nearby.  If there's no panther, you don't really lose anything.  But if you "guessed" correctly, you might just have saved yourself from being dinner.  (As a result, you can have more babies that are likely to act on the basis of pareidolia, which means that those babies are more likely to live long enough to make babies likely to act because of pareidolia...and so on.)

Comment 04 Jun 2014

Sorry about that.  I'm glad that you're okay and that you didn't have maximum problems.  I was going 45 today on a country road (speed limit 45) and a deer scared the crap out of me just standing by the side of the road, staring at me.  The worst part?  The oncoming lane was occupied by an approaching car, so I was terrified that Bambi would just jump onto my hood.

It happens to us all and now you've had your turn.  =)  Here's hoping that you're deer-free from now on.

Comment 04 Jun 2014

Well, I certainly HOPE that he's hanging out with "Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter and the gang," but it's my understanding that Ace and Peter aren't exactly welcome. 

Congrats on seeing KISS live in their prime.  My Dad told me he shot some photos at one of their concerts...and the members were 1/4-inch tall blobs in the pictures.  =)   The band certainly deserves their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And I OBVIOUSLY wish the best for Kenny G.  He's one of my favorite Buckeyes...very good young man...lights-out on the field...dealt with adversity in a positive manner...what else could you want?

Comment 21 May 2014

Hmm...I don't think the comment box likes the cut-and-paste of the text of the tweet.  What I'm trying to ask is:

Can someone translate the text from the gentleman's tweet?

eyeballs lovey eyes waterdrops u of m cold with these edits

I have no idea what he means to say.

Comment 16 May 2014

I know that the Ohio State athletics department is financially self-sufficient, and that's great.  I guess I just don't understand how this arms race is acceptable at colleges that subsidize the athletics department...especially when these institutions have shifted a significant percentage of classes to part-time faculty who earn, at most, a few thousand dollars to teach a class.