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March Madness won’t include river jump

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More than 2,300 students are not enough to start a new tradition of jumping into a body of water on Selection Sunday, but that doesn’t mean a different tradition will not begin.

The Facebook event, “Selection Sunday Jump,” went from 547 to 2,376 attendees since Feb. 7, when The Lantern published an article about the event. Organizers said they wanted to jump into the Olentangy River on Selection Sunday to support Ohio State’s basketball team.

However, a meeting with the event organizers and OSU officials halted the jump, although it is murky who actually decided the jump would not happen.

Representatives from Student Life, Deputy Chief Richard Morman of OSU police and the event coordinators attended the meeting.

“We tried to work something out mutually. They weren’t pleased with the idea, but we wanted to do something and that’s when the negotiations went in a different direction,” said Frank Hoyt, a third-year in business finance and one of the organizers of the event.

Ruth Gerstner, the director of communications for Student Life, said although Student Life never supported the original idea, Nate Kinkopf and his colleagues realized the dangers of jumping in Mirror Lake or the river and decided to halt the plans for the jump themselves. OSU officials are working with the event creators to provide a safer alternative for next year.

“We are thinking about having a viewing party at the Schott (Schottenstein Center). It’d be catered with prizes, giveaways, a big screen and possibly a half-court shot for free tuition or something like that,” said Kinkopf, a third-year in sports and leisure studies and the main organizer of the event.

Morman said the meeting was successful and although Kinkopf has a lot of planning to do, he can definitely pull it off.

Kinkopf and his colleagues have begun to tackle the planning process.

“We have already scheduled meetings to become an official student organization and we want to take the proper steps in pulling this off,” Hoyt said.

Although a new tradition is on the horizon to support the basketball team, some students are upset about not being able to jump this year.

“It just seems that they (the university) won’t bend over backwards for the basketball team like they do for the football team,” said Mike Rones, an undecided second-year.

Rones said he is not going to shave until OSU wins a national championship.

“I was completely ready to jump in. Whether jumping in Mirror Lake or the river, I would do whatever it takes to support the basketball team,” Rones said.

Although Gerstner said the Selection Sunday jump could not be accurately compared to the Mirror Lake jump and could not give specific costs for extra resources that would be involved in the Selection Sunday jump, Mirror Lake has proved events such as these can be costly. The Lantern reported on November 22 that clean up alone from the Mirror Lake jump costs about $20,000.

“For the Mirror Lake jump, the university puts a lot of resources into the situation to make it less risky, including staff, volunteers and buildings opening up,” said Gerstner.

The initial idea concerned the staff at the OSU Medical Center, too.

“Ninety percent of diving injuries happen in six feet of water or less,” said Ann Smith, chapter director for ThinkFirst Central Ohio.

ThinkFirst is a program about “using your mind to protect your body and making good choices,” Smith said.

Even though the original proposal was not supported, Kinkopf said he was pleased with the recognition.

“It’s obviously not what we wanted, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction that they are doing something for the basketball team and they are legitimately recognizing it and helping us plan it out,” Kinkopf said.

Hoyt said he was also satisfied with the results of the meeting.

“We were happy with the way they (Student Life) received us and wanted to help us out. Everyone was working together and they were really just trying to help us get something done,” Hoyt said.

Although there are no plans for this year, Kinkopf said he is planning for possible Selection Sunday activities next year.

“Next quarter we will be going through the process of making us a student organization so that by next year we are set to start booking space and entertainment and we will be ready to go,” Kinkopf said.

The organizers prefer to wait until next year because there is a lack of organization at time this year.

“When we do it, we want to go all out. We want something that will stick and Student Life is there to support us in making this a lasting tradition,” said Kinkopf.

The Facebook event facilitated the process of gaining student interest.

“It opened the eyes to students that people do care about the basketball team and want us to do well,” Hoyt said.

Kinkopf said he wants people to know that he is not trying to take away from the football team, but simply trying to open the door for other teams than football to be supported.

 

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