Skull Session: Buckeyes Don Scott and Fred Norton Made the Ultimate Sacrifice For the United States, and Ryan Day Says Ohio State is “Not For The Faint of Heart”

By Chase Brown on May 27, 2024 at 5:00 am

Welcome to the Skull Session.

On Memorial Day, we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the United States military. This selfless act deserves more recognition than a day off work and a barbecue, so attend a memorial ceremony, thank a veteran or participate in a personal moment of reflection today.

Have a good Monday.

 BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. While Memorial Day offers us the chance to honor all American men and women who died in service to the United States, I want to salute two men in Ohio State’s Varsity O Hall of Fame who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation: Don Scott and Fred Norton.

Scott was Ohio State's 1st two-time All-American quarterback
Don Scott, All-American quarterback

Scott arrived in Columbus after a decorated high school career at Canton McKinley. A 6-foot-2, 210-pound athlete, Scott was a do-it-all kind of player for the Bulldogs, playing quarterback, fullback, offensive line, defensive line, kicker and punter across four seasons. At Ohio State, Scott was a standout tailback and quarterback, earning two All-American selections while leading the Buckeyes to the 1939 Big Ten title. After that year, he also helped the basketball team reach the Final Four before Ohio State fell to Oregon, 46-33, in the national championship.

Though Scott would become the No. 9 overall pick in the 1941 NFL draft, he instead volunteered his services in World War II. Scott participated in the Civilian Training Program, a government-funded program launched to develop men into pilots should the need arise. Soon after, he entered the Army Air Forces as a commissioned pilot and completed 10 bombing missions.

On Oct. 1, 1943, Scott perished at 23 years old when his B-25 bomber crashed during training exercises in England. One month later, Ohio State’s Board of Trustees named the school’s airport Don Scott Field. Ohio State commemorated 80 years of Don Scott Field on May 4, 2023.

A Marblehead, Ohio, native, Norton came to Columbus as a 5-foot-11, 175-pound kid nicknamed “The Smiling Irishman.” Thanks to decorated careers in baseball, basketball, football, and track, he would later become Ohio State’s first four-sport letterman.

Lt. Fred Norton earned a Distinguished Service Cross in 1918
Fred Norton

Captain of the baseball and basketball teams, Norton’s main accomplishments came on the football field, where he was Chic Harley’s lead blocker and helped the Buckeyes win the 1916 Big Ten title. More than just a blocker, Norton scored five touchdowns in Ohio State’s 128-0 destruction of Oberlin and scored six times in the Buckeyes’ 46-7 win over Indiana that same season.

After his Ohio State career, Norton enlisted in the Reserve Corps and became a PFC in Ohio State’s school of aeronautics. In January 1918, he was sent to France to battle the Germans. Six months later, as leader of the 27th “Eagle” Pursuit Squadron, Norton took two anti-aircraft rounds to the chest in a dogfight. He managed to land his Nieuport 28 behind Allied lines but died from his wounds and complications from pneumonia. Norton died at 23 years old.

Sometime Monday, as you reflect on the freedoms made possible by the American soldiers who died in service of the United States, take a moment to honor them all, including Ohio and Ohio State’s Don Scott and Fred Norton.

 NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. In a Skull Session last week, I discussed Ryan Day’s appearance on Jim Tressel’s podcast, “It’s All About the Team,” and how Day believes the Buckeyes have “come together for a common purpose” this offseason. That purpose is to “beat the Team Up North and win a national championship.”

To open this week, I'll return to that podcast for another round of #content.

This offseason, Day has said Ohio State is not for the faint of heart several times, including on Tressel's podcast. This time around, he used the phrase as he addressed some of the Buckeyes' offseason of reloading the roster, adding transfer portal pieces and making coaching staff changes.

"There's a lot that comes with Ohio State," Day said. "Ohio State's different than other schools. It's not for everybody. Now more than ever, you have to open up your doors and say, ‘This is who we are. Here are the challenges. Here is what's great about Ohio State.' Then, you allow (the players and coaches) to take that step toward you. And tell them all the reasons we think (Ohio State is) great. We show them all the great things that come with being a Buckeye. But if they do that – when things go bad, or they have a bad day or they hit adversity – they will hang onto it.“

Tressel complimented Day for that approach and celebrated Ohio State's tremendous offseason. However, he also advised Day to be mindful of what's next for the Buckeyes and ensure the program has a vision for what lies ahead.

"This job is not for the faint of heart," Day responded. "You have to make hard decisions. And when you care a lot about relationships, and you care a lot about people, but you also know what's at stake, you have to have the courage to make a change sometimes when it's not easy."

Day and Ohio State have made their changes. The roster and coaching staff are set. Now, it's time for the Buckeyes to win football games. Day understands that.

“If you don't win enough games, they will find a new coach," Day told Tressel.

Back against the wall, it's time to shine, Coach.

 GOOD GUY STROUD. Wait... C.J. Stoud is goated... on and off the field.

Last week, the former Ohio State quarterback was among those who helped damaged communities in the Houston area following two EF-1 tornadoes in the area the week before. Stroud, the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, helped clean the impacted area and conversed with community members, one of whom was a 14-year-old Texans fan.

According to Maggie Flecknoe of CW39, the 14-year-old lost his house in a fire that started in his bedroom earlier this year. Stroud talked with the young man about his losses at the same age, and the two connected. It eventually led to the two of them tossing the football in the front yard.

C.J. Stroud, man of the people.

 IT'S IN THE GAME. According to documents CLLCT obtained last week, EA Sports paid Ohio State $99,875.16 for its appearance in EA Sports College Football 25. The Buckeyes were considered one of 13 “Tier 1” schools that received the highest distribution along with Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Utah and Iowa.

Over the weekend, Matt Liberman of CLLCT shared that EA Sports used AP Polls from the past 10 years as the primary variable to rank teams. However, the documents CLLCT obtained did not indicate whether the poll was “the sole barometer.”

Given Ohio State's prominent history in the AP poll – the program ranks No. 1 all-time in AP poll appearances with 982, followed by Michigan (919), Oklahoma (898), Alabama (873) and Notre Dame (873) – it makes sense that the Buckeyes would be a Tier 1 school. It sounds like Ohio State will remain in Tier 1 for the foreseeable future.

From Liberman's article:

According to the May 2023 document sent from CLC Learfield, the proposed terms of agreement will cover from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2028, and will cover four EA Sports College Football video games (‘25-’28). Tiers will shift based on new rankings as the 10-year period moves up.

Schools will receive additional payments based on the success of the game. The documents state CLC is hopeful sales of the game will exceed the minimum guaranteed royalties, and increase revenue, but a breakdown of how that money would be distributed is not listed, other than to say schools will get a 10 percent royalty on sales. It's not stipulated whether those sales are net sales or gross sales.

One FBS athletic director confirmed to CLLCT that schools could receive a small percentage in addition to the royalty minimum due to higher-than-anticipated sales.


In looking at total royalties paid from EA, all 134 schools combined will receive a minimum payment of over $5.3 million. Per OneTeam Partners, at least 12,400 players opted into the game. At $600 given to each player, EA will pay over $7.4 million, not including what they will have paid to the cover athletes. Thus, minimum royalties paid from EA to players and universities amounts to over $12.7 million.

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