Should The Buckeyes Play All Their Home Football Games At Night?

September 30, 2013

Watching the Ohio State-Wisconsin football game Saturday night in prime time, it didn’t take a life-long Buckeye fan to feel the exuberance radiating throughout Ohio Stadium all game long.  For some time now, I have been opining that the OSU-Michigan game should be played under the lights as well.  However, many Buckeye and Wolverine fans will say that tradition dictates The Game be played at noon.  I say hogwash, that Big Money has long ago replaced tradition as the driving force in a sport that likes to think itself as being amateur in all things, despite earning billions of dollars annually.  It doesn’t take an economist to realize that the NCAA’s basketball and football programs are semi-pro, minor league developmental leagues for the NBA, WNBA and the NFL.

The following is a copy of my letter to OSU athletic director Gene Smith and head football coach Urban Meyer in which I express this sentiment.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

September 30, 2013

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

While over at my 87-year-old neighbor’s apartment watching the Browns beat the Bengals Sunday afternoon, I glanced at her Springfield newspaper’s sports section during halftime, as we were eating dinner.  Wanda, who loves the Browns, is the biggest football fan I know.  Earlier this year, she called to tell me that the Nebraska spring game was on the Big 10/14 Network.  She even watches arena football, for crying out loud.  If there is any type of football game on television, she watches.  A couple of years ago, she was disappointed when I told her I do not listen to Cleveland preseason games on the radio.  She once told me that the only item on her bucket list would be to attend a Browns game.  While reading her paper, an article about the OSU-Wisconsin game caught my attention when I read how much Coach Meyer loves night games, as do I.

The atmosphere in the Horseshoe Saturday night was electric, and was so throughout the entire game.  The newspaper article said the coach believes night games help in recruiting, as evidenced by the large number of recruits in attendance for the game.  Every single one of the high school players must have walked away from the game on cloud nine, envisioning themselves playing in such an emotional and exciting environment.  If Woody Hayes had been on the sidelines, even he would have to admit it doesn’t get any better than that.  However, one game in particular would be even better, maybe even twice as good, that being against that reviled School Up North.

Having every home at night, might be asking too much.  However, I firmly believe home games against quality opponents such as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State and especially Michigan should be a must.  I know some fans will be adamant in saying tradition dictates that the Michigan game be played at noon.  However, we both know tradition is long gone in collegiate sports.  When was the last time the Buckeyes and Wolverines both wore their traditional uniforms during The Game?  Playing games against the teams listed above at 8:00 p.m. means the entire nation would be tuned in.  A noon start for the Michigan game means half the country is just getting out of bed, while the other half is out running weekend errands.  When you consider all the other games being played that day, Ohio State-Michigan is just another game for most sports fans.

As electric as the crowd was for the Wisconsin game, imagine what the atmosphere would be like for Michigan.  It would be the biggest spectacle in all of sports!

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

C.: Coach Urban Meyer


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