The Weekender: Buckeyes in the Olympics, Big 12 Commissioner Battles ESPN, and Ohio State Transfers Chase NBA Dreams

By 11W Staff on August 1, 2021 at 3:35 pm
Alec Yoder

Own the group chat with The Weekender, highlighting the biggest stories in college sports, standout writing from Eleven Warriors, and a glance at what's next.

World-Class Buckeyes

The Tokyo Olympics had quite the Buckeye flavor this week with a few former Ohio State athletes showing out on the world's biggest stage.

Former Ohio State sprinter Christina Clemson represented the United State in the 100m hurdles, and she did it well, advancing to the semifinals and finishing 14th overall.

Former Ohio State gymnast Alec Yoder also represented Team USA on the world stage, competing in the pommel horse finals where he finished 6th overall with a score of 14.566.

And former Ohio State rower Ilse Paulis became the first former Ohio State athlete to claim a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, earning bronze in Lightweight Double, representing the Netherlands.

But only one Buckeye earned Olympic gold this week, as Ohio State swimmer Hunter Armstrong received gold for his work with the 4x100 relay team.

Though he didn't swim in the finals, he did swim in the prelims to help the team qualify, so he'll still get the medal – plus a $37,500 cash prize.

Big 12 vs. ESPN

The Big 12 is crumbling, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby is gonna go down swinging.

More specifically, he's going to go down swinging at ESPN, which he is "absolutely certain" is who is behind all of this.

The letter alleges ESPN "has taken certain actions that are intended to not only harm the Big 12 Conference but to result in financial benefits for ESPN." The network currently shares Big 12 rights with Fox.

Bowlsby told CBS Sports that ESPN's actions are equal to "tortious interference".

"[There are] two documents that govern our members," Bowlsby told CBS Sports. "One is the bylaws, and the other is the grant of rights. The bylaws go for 99 years; the grant of rights go until 2024-25. ESPN has been behind these moves every step of the way."

He added: "I have every expectation that Oklahoma and Texas will do whatever they can to not meet their [contractual] obligations. That's what they've done so far. ... One of the ways the two schools and ESPN will seek to absolve themselves of the obligation is to destabilize the league and cause an implosion of the other eight members.

"I am absolutely certain ESPN employees have discussed and provided incentives for at least one conference to raid 3-5 members from the Big 12. In doing so, they are prepared to reward them with future television proceeds. If the conference goes away as an entity, Oklahoma and Texas could be relieved from their exit obligations. Those obligations at this time would include the payment of $70M to $80M -- two years full revenue -- per school and leaving their media rights with the Big 12.

It seems rather tinfoil-hatty on the surface, but when you consider that ESPN has exclusive rights to the ACC and soon the SEC and ACC, as well as the College Football Playoff, it's not that crazy.

More than that, there now seems to be a general weariness in college football (well, outside of the SEC, at least) about ESPN garnering too much power.

Buckle up, this could get interesting.

NBA Dreams

Duane Washington Jr. is getting a chance to chase his NBA dreams, signing a free agent deal with the Indiana Pacers, but he's no the only former Ohio State player getting a shot at an NBA career.

DJ Carton and Micah Potter – both of whom transferred away from Ohio State and finished their careers elsewhere – are getting a chance in the NBA with Carton signing with the Charlotte Hornets and Potter with the Miami Heat.

Now, they'll the real fight begins as they all attempt to show what the can do in hopes of making the roster.


What if Quinn Ewers decides to reclassify?

If five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers decides to reclassify and join the Buckeyes this fall, it would have many massive and complex ramifications this year and beyond. Colin Hass-Hill gives us a very thorough explanation.

“We've been told we suck the whole year”

Zach Harrison gets really candid when talking about the improvements Ohio State needs to make on the defensive side of the ball, and Ryan Day says he's a lot more confident in the pass defense than he was last year.

Why they went elsewhere

Not everyone who gets recruited by Ohio State ends up a Buckeye. Our Dan Hope asked 14 Big Ten players who were at one point recruited by Ohio State about their recruitment and why they ultimately went somewhere else.

Up Next

  • Wednesday: Ohio State's first day of preseason football practice
  • Sept. 2: Ohio State's season opener at Minnesota
  • Nov. 27: The Game
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