Ohio State Basketball: 5 Ways Success in Football Can Help the Hoops Program
Perhaps you haven’t been paying much attention because Ohio State is ineligible for a bowl game this year thanks to magical tattoos that made them bigger, faster and stronger on the field, but the Buckeyes are putting together a fairly successful football season.
Urban Meyer has the Scarlet and Gray sitting at 10-0 going into the bye week with only two difficult games standing in the way of a perfect season.
Considering the fact that the Bucks were 6-7 a year ago, 2012 has surpassed the expectations of even the most optimistic members of Buckeye Nation.
But what about the team on campus that is allowed to play in the postseason? Can Thad Matta’s basketball squad benefit from the success of its gridiron counterpart?
Read on to see five ways that the success of the football team can help the hoops program.
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Take a look at what class of 2013 Ohio State commit Kameron Williams said to the Columbus Dispatch about his visit to Columbus during a football game against California earlier in the year:
They showed me what a big-time atmosphere is all about. But the thing that stood out to me was, later that night, people were still walking the streets relishing their win, slapping high fives, giving hugs. They really embrace their sports at Ohio State.
That sums up why Thad Matta constantly schedules recruiting trips during football season better than anything I could say.
There are few more imposing and historic stadiums in all of college football than the Horseshoe at Ohio State. A high school-aged prospect that experiences a game with sideline passes can certainly walk away with quite an impression of Buckeye fans.
Typically, the bigger the football game the more basketball prospects will be in attendance. After all, a convincing 8 p.m. win over Nebraska probably leaves more of a mark than an early game against UAB.
As long as the football Buckeyes continue to win, each game will take on more importance, the fans will be louder and future hoopsters will walk away impressed.
Attract Two-Sport Athletes
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This one may be a bit of a stretch, but there is something to be said about the possibility of attracting two-sport athletes in today’s recruiting environment.
Many of the elite high school basketball players play football as well, and if they are good enough in both, they may look to continue their two sport careers at the collegiate level.
If the football Buckeyes continue their resurgence and the hoopsters have a successful encore performance to their Final Four trip, two-sport athletes will have to keep Ohio State on their radar.
The latest basketball/football prospect to take his talents to Columbus was a certain quarterback named Terrelle Pryor. While he ultimately elected to stick to the gridiron, there is no doubt that Ohio State’s relevance in each sport will play a factor in the recruitment of some two-sport athletes.
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Like it or not, big-time college football is a cash cow for the athletic departments fortunate enough to enjoy it.
Ohio State packs in 105,000 fans every home game at a price of $70 a ticket. Throw in the merchandising sales, concession stands and television rights, and Urban Meyer and company are raking in the dough (of course, the actual players won’t see a penny—hooray college athletics).
When the football team performs well, those dollar totals become even higher. In addition to the above profits, a berth in the BCS (of course, not an issue this year) would be a huge financial windfall for the athletic department.
The other Ohio State programs undoubtedly benefit from the money the football team pulls in, including the basketball squad.
Things such as facilities and recruiting costs can be offset by gridiron profits, especially if those profits are high because of continued success.
Establish Athletic Dominance
Few programs across the country can be considered truly elite in both basketball and football. There are far more schools like Kentucky and Alabama that are great at one and struggle in the other.
Despite the blip on the football radar from a year ago, Ohio State can consider itself among the best programs in both sports.
That culture of athletic dominance can permeate across various teams and begin to show up on the field and court.
What’s more, if Ohio State is constantly appearing on television and on the top of the respective rankings, its success will leave an impression on recruits.
It’s human nature to want to be part of something great, which means dominance on the football field and basketball court for the Buckeyes should influence future recruiting decisions.
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This reason is somewhat cheesy, but with no bowl game in the winter, Ohio State fans will be looking for something to get excited about.
If Urban Meyer and company run the table (which is certainly possible), Buckeye fans will still be looking to sip the Scarlet and Gray Kool-Aid after Nov. 24.
That’s where the basketball team will come in.
Ohio State is, and probably always will be, a football school, but starving fans will be looking elsewhere to express their school spirit with no bowl game.
Attendance and support should be high down the stretch of the basketball season, which is something that hasn’t always been the case in Columbus.
Look for Thad Matta, Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas to keep those fans around well into March.