A new documentary aims to shine a light on Ohio State’s club football team, a group of athletes that might be overshadowed by the university’s varsity football program.
“I think what is interesting to me is that the club (football) team is treated almost as the black sheep of all the club sports,” said David Goodwin, co-director of the film and recent OSU graduate.
Goodwin and co-director Michael Mullen II, a fourth-year in film studies, have been recording the team’s activities for about a year. The documentary, entitled “The Other Eleven,” is a project by LenSight Productions, the filmmaking team comprised of Goodwin and Mullen. LenSight Productions began last summer.
“It kind of began as a hobby, but (Goodwin and I) were involved in so many projects together, we wanted to start up our own company,” Mullen said.
Mullen, who has played as a defensive end on the club football team for three years, said the experiences with his teammates inspired the creation of “The Other Eleven.”
“The idea originated during (my) second season,” Mullen said. “(My love for my teammates) and my love for film inspired me to create a film about the season and kind of what the guys do outside of club football.”
Mullen explained that many differences exist between the atmosphere surrounding the club football team and the varsity football program.
“(The club football team) is doing the same thing as (the varsity team), however, we’re not getting that (much) attention,” he said. “We’re still traveling and we’re still putting a lot of effort towards practicing.”
Goodwin said unlike the varsity football athletes, the students participating in the club football team must shoulder most of the financial burden themselves.
“They’re not receiving scholarships to come play for the school … they’re paying out of their own pockets,” he said. “There are no concrete times for practice organized by the university staff. This is student-run.”
Chris Kuzak, president of the club football team, said the team practices about two to three times a week, for about an hour and a half for each practice.
Mullen said along with covering the team’s 2013 season, the documentary also focuses on the players’ lives outside of the sport.
“I hope that (“The Other Eleven” provides) exposure for the other football team here at Ohio State,” he said. “Despite not being very well known, everyone is out there doing something. We are a bunch of individuals, great people and there is more to us than just football.”
The OSU club football team was founded in 2009 with 22 players, according to the team’s website. Kuzak said the team has around 40 players for its 2014 season.
“A bunch of guys just wanted to go out and play some football (even though) they weren’t good enough to play in that high (varsity) level that (OSU) has here,” said Brian Thompson, coach of the club football team.
Thompson said he has been on the staff of the club team for two years and thinks the team is “moving in the right direction.” Thompson is not compensated for being a coach, and he is not a university employee.
The team currently plays other club teams in 10 games per season. In 2013, the team finished with a 6-4 record, Thompson said.
Thompson said he also hopes “The Other Eleven” will help the club football team gain more exposure.
“(LenSight Productions has been) doing interviews and they’re basically taking stuff that they love in football and in filmmaking and they’re using both of these (interests) to their advantage,” he said. “Hopefully, they’re able to just show people what we’re all about.”
Goodwin and Mullen said “The Other Eleven” is set to premiere some time between April and May.
“(We are) working on previewing (the film) at the Gateway Film Center,” Mullen said. “If it doesn’t get there, we’re definitely going to show it on campus, probably several times.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stylized LenSight Productions in both the article and the caption.