Internet Killed the Media Guide

By Jason Priestas on June 1, 2009 at 7:43 am
Woody Hayes and some heavy metal on the cover of the 1976 Ohio State football media guideBLING!

Last week, when Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin announced plans to stop printing athletic media guides, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. I get the reasons for the move, but we're talking the retirement of Buckeye man's greatest bathroom companion.

If you bleed scarlet and gray, the raw amount of information is delightful. You have the quality stats like playing minutes, results when ranked and televised games. The history section includes heroic tales of great seasons, players and bowls and the season outlook, player capsules and other copy is unadulterated Buckeye porn and propaganda of the finest degree. How else would you know that Baseball America once rated Bauserman as having the best changeup in the Pirates' farm system or that Chekwa's sister played hoops for Mississippi State or that Lawrence Wilson's favorite cartoon character is Riley?

Okay, so maybe you will still be able to unearth those nuggets. The media guides will be published online and will be much more accessible in that form than the limited print run that went out to a select few or were available for purchase. In fact, if you're so motivated, you can grab a copy of the 2009 Spring Guide and ship it to your nearest Kinkos (scratch that last step, the founder was a USC grad). The university will be saving a couple hundred thousand dollars and besides, the PDFs offer one killer benefit: you can search them.

But I'll definitely miss the covers, which were great at getting a snapshot of the expected season or a tribute to the one that came before (though they have trended towards a slick branding effort as of late). Over the years there have been some memorable covers and here are just a few (click the image for full size):

Art Schlichter on the cover of the 1981 Ohio State football media guide 1981
Heading into Schlichter's senior season, the quarterback was given three spots on the cover and national championship hopes were abound in Columbus. It was not to be, however, as the Buckeyes were upset at home by Florida State in game four and followed that with a loss at Wisconsin the following week on the way to a... 9-3 finish.
Keith Byars is off to the races against Pitt on the cover of the 1984 Buckeye media guide 1984
Love the shot of Byars on his way to a 99 yard kickoff return against Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl. With Tomczak suffering a broken leg in the spring game, the cover delivers optimism.
Keith Byars is a superstar on the cover of the 1985 Ohio State football media guide 1985
Byars gets the star treatment on the cover after rushing for 1,764 yards as a junior. On page four is the awesomely titled "Keith Byars - A Special Kind of Athlete". Damn you broken foot god!
Spielman graced his only cover in 1987 1987
Spielman graced his only cover in 1987 which, surprisingly, is only half the number of covers that Steve Tovar appeared on (1991 and 1992). This would be the last media guide with an Earle Bruce bio.
New coach John Cooper appeared on the 1988 cover 1988
The new coach gets the cover treatment and even the most partisan of us will admit that scarlet doesn't exactly look great on everything. Coop is joined by Vince Workman, Michael McCray and Jeff Uhlenhake.
1990 wins the minimalist award 1990
Minimalism was in for 1990 as the cover featured Greg Frey and his tinted visor executing an option pitch to the cameraman. Scottie Graham, Jeff Graham, Dan Beatty and Alonzo Spellman grace the back cover.
The 1994 media guide featured Cooper showing off the Thrifty Car Rental Holiday Bowl trophy 1994
After jumping out to a 9-0-1 start in 1993, the Buckeyes were shutout by Michigan relegating the conference co-champs to the Thrifty Car Rental Bowl. No matter, Coop was still down to show off the Big Ten and bowl trophies for '94.
1995 was the year of the ugly 1995
Hopes were high for both Eddie George and Bobby Hoying headed into the 1995 season. So, let's play around with the first-ever set of Photoshop filters for the cover! Really, was 1995 the year of the ugly or what?
Roses for 1997 1997
The cover in 1997 celebrated the Rose Bowl win over Arizona State (and rightfully so). The trophy appears along with photos of Pepe Pearson, Stanley Jackson and Damon Moore.
1998 featured too much talent for one cover 1998
The guide recognized the sheer amount of talent on the '98 team by featuring six of the stars of that team on the cover: Katzenmoyer, Rob Murphy, Winfield, Germaine, Damon Moore and Boston.
2000 featured an ominious cover for John Cooper 2000
Coming off a sub-par 1999, the 2000 guide featured a pensive John Cooper staring off into the distance with an action photo of Bellisari. If you look closely at the background gradient, you can literally see the hot seat engulfing Coop.
Patriotism was the theme for 2002 2002
Patriotism was the theme for 2002 as the nation was still smarting from 9/11. This is the only media guide to feature the American flag on the cover.
Our trophies, look at them! 2003
The look of a top-ranked team 2006
Pitcock, Datish, Patterson and Smith displaying a bit of the swagger that accompanies a preseason national championship favorite.
The 2007 Ohio State football spring media guide 2007 Spring
2007 marked the first season Ohio State issued two media guides (mostly to wiggle around the new NCAA limit on size). While the fall guide was more geared towards recruits, the spring guides packed the heavy numbers.
The 2007 Ohio State football fall media guide featured one of the best covers 2007 Fall
The fall edition for 2007 features an amazing cover. Some enterprising soul should be selling notebooks with this design.

So there's that. Anything to avoid talking about the BIGGEST ROUT IN THE HISTORY OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT. Sigh. At least we knocked Georgia out.