Letter to the editor:
Archie Griffin’s “Tradition and Change” article in the Ohio State Alumni Magazine September/October 2014 issue includes a comparison between the firing of former OSU Marching Band Director Jon Waters and the firing of Woody Hayes. It has been reported that Archie Griffin also used this analogy in a meeting with Marching Band members and parents.
I have been a fan of Mr. Griffin since 1979 when he came to speak at my school, Ridgeview Junior High School in the Columbus Public School system. Archie is an eloquent speaker and honorable person. I appreciate the commiseration, empathy and finding common ground, but this comparison is flawed.
When Woody was fired, the university didn’t issue a 23-page report with a roughly-75-page appendix based on 2 percent of players, asserting that a “violent culture” existed in the football program. It didn’t state that Woody knew or should have known this was occurring, and did nothing to prevent it. It didn’t ignore documented evidence of actions taken and policies implemented to address isolated instances.
When Earl Bruce was fired, the university simply said multiple years of a 9-3 record is not what we’re looking for out of this program. It didn’t further damage Earl’s reputation by publicly releasing transcripts of locker room humor from six years before he became head coach.
When Jim O’Brien was fired, the university didn’t commission an outside investigation with a student survey containing inappropriate personal questions, seeking to find additional wrongdoing within the basketball program.
When Jim Tressel resigned, a few players were named for their involvement in an improper benefits scandal, but the university president did not appear on YouTube to publicly accuse the entire team and thousands of alumni football players, of a systemic culture of violating NCAA regulations.
Each of these absurd responses, which thankfully did not occur in past high-profile firings or resignations, have since July 24, been similarly undertaken by OSU in regard to the marching band. These actions have been documented by multiple media outlets, including The Lantern and the analysis report on TBDBITL Alumni Club’s website. With the Sept. 11 statement from the U.S. Department of Education, it is now clear that these actions, the manufactured report and media circus were the intentional chosen methods to get out from under federal investigation. The end does not justify the means.
The actions of the administration toward the marching band, its current and former members and staff are uniquely disturbing in OSU history, and set dangerous precedent. Which student organization is next? This has greatly damaged the reputation of OSU and, as a taxpayer of the State of Ohio and alumnus who values the prestige which a degree from this institution formerly conferred, I am deeply concerned.
B.S. in electrical engineering 1990, M.S. in electrical engineering 1991
OSUMB 1985-89, F-Row assistant squad leader 1989