I know that this is a sports website but I have to acknowledge my inner geek, and outer geek, by starting off today’s hive with what was the most significant event of the week. With the start of track and field events at the London Olympics, most of the world has been concerned with who can run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds or throw a 16 pound object 20 meters. While this was going on NASA put all those things to shame as they sent a 2,000 pound, car sized object on an 8 month, 352 million mile journey and landed it within meters of their target using a sky crane technique that is straight out of a science fiction movie. This was an accomplishment only slightly easier than Denard Robinson throwing a deep touchdown pass to open receiver instead of arm punting the ball. At a cost of $2.5 billion dollars this was the most expensive single mission ever by NASA but the Curiosity rover will allow us to learn about the geological and chemical history of Mars which will provide important insights into how planets form, helping us not only understand our own solar system better but the distant planetary systems that are being discovered in ever increasing numbers. As an Astronomer I was obviously excited about the scientific implications of this mission, I admit that I got a little choked up watching the NASA broadcast of the landing, but I’m even more excited about the potential of this mission to inspire the future generation of scientists and engineers, the way the Hubble Space Telescope and the moon landings did previously. So as we go back to watching the Olympics remember, NASA and the USA already took home the gold medal in the 350 million mile shot put.
Our Band Has a License Plate and Yours Doesn’t
If you needed any more proof of just how awesome the Ohio State University Marching Band is, and really you shouldn’t need any more proof, the state of Ohio has now provided it as they have released a brand new TBDBITL license plate. That is right, now you can show your support for the band everywhere you go by purchasing a TBDBITL license plate, $25 from each license plate sale will go to support the OSUMB. I wish I could get one of these plates but unfortunately they haven’t made it to Australia yet, I should work on that. Next time a Michigan, Stanford, or even Ohio University fan brags about their band and tries to tell you that their band is better just ask them where their band’s license plate, then laugh derisively at them.
Ohio State Athletics Earns Recognition for Their Community Outreach
We all know that the people involved in OSU athletics are great people who are making a difference in the community and now they have been recognized for the work they do as it was announced that the Ohio States LiFE Sports summer program was one of three that won the 2012 Excellence in Summer Learning Awards from the National Summer Learning Association. This is an annual award that recognizes summer programs that help low-income youth with academic and life skills.
The OSU Life Sports camp hosts 600 youth between the ages of 9 and 15 for a month each summer. The camp is not only free for the participants but also provides free breakfast, lunch, and transportation to each camper. The program is run through a partnership between the OSU Athletics Department and the College of Social Life and focuses on teaching kids life and social skills through sports.
OSU shares this award with the United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun Initiative and the GO Project of New York. Congratulations to all three programs for showing that despite all the bad press that athletics can get, it can make a vital difference in improving the lives of kids.
ESPN Will Be in Town More, Yay?
As most people have already heard, ESPN has chosen to do a series of All-Access specials on Ohio State football’s preseason workouts and practices. OSU has granted ESPN behind-the-scenes access to not only the practices but also to team meetings and campus facilities. Viewers will be treated to four, 30-minute specials on ESPNU from August 14-17, a five-part series shown on College Football Live from August 19-23 and a one hour special on ESPN on August 22nd.
Most people would assume that Buckeye fans would welcome the opportunity to see more coverage of their team but a perceived anti-OSU bias by ESPN over the past decade or so has soured a large percentage of the OSU fanbase on the network. It is true that ESPN does use their coverage to promote their own financial agenda by giving favorable coverage to leagues and conferences whose games are on their network, an example of this is the amazingly small amount of NHL coverage on sports center or any other ESPN program. This, combined with the Big Ten creating a rival network, has seemed to cause ESPN to treat the SEC very favorably while appearing to relish in any failing of the Big Ten and its teams. While I do think there is some bias, I do not think it is nearly as bad as many OSU fans make it out to be, rather fans are always protective of their team and are more sensitive to possible slights against them than they would be if those same slights were directed toward a different team. We won’t discuss the quality of the analysis that comes out of ESPN due to space and time constraints.
Despite the distaste that many Buckeye fans have for ESPN, this should be seen as a good thing for the program. These specials give OSU a chance to show off the best aspects of the program and the new direction that it will be going under Urban Meyer. Sure, ESPN will spend time talking about the negative things that occurred over the last year or so but the images of a program moving forward in the right direction will be what dominates. And in the end, any extra exposure is a good thing in the eyes of recruits.
Women’s Volleyball On TV
The football team was not the only Buckeye team that announced some additional television coverage for this season. The university announced that the Ohio State women’s volleyball team will be shown on the Big Ten Network three times this season. The Buckeyes will be on BTN for their road match against Minnesota on September 28th and their home matches against Penn State (October 17th) and Northwestern (November 7th). This season promises to be a good one for the Buckeyes as the team is coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances and will return 5 starters.
While it is nice to see that OSU will get 3 games on tv this season, the fact that it is only 3 games is unfortunate. Overall 50 matches involving Big Ten teams will be shown on either BTN or ESPN2 this season and this is a real waste of an opportunity. One complaint that I continuously have with BTN is that they don’t show nearly enough actual sports, instead spending too much time with various studio shows and replays of classic games. BTN would probably try to justify this by saying that there isn’t a big audience for the other sports but it is hard to build a following for a sport when you can never see it. Come on BTN, give actual exposure to our teams and see what happens.