Naveau column: OSU shouldn’t be playing on Friday night


College football might have more traditions than any other sport.

Wisconsin fans have done the Jump Around at the start of the fourth quarter since 1998. Colorado has run Ralphie the buffalo into the stadium since 1967.

Texas’ Hook ‘Em Horns gesture dates back to 1955. Georgia’s first UGA, the team’s live bulldog mascot, got started in 1956.

Ohio State has a long list of traditions, like Script Ohio, first performed by the band in 1936, and playing Hang On Sloopy, which debuted in 1965.

Want to rile up an Ohio State fan? Put the Buckeyes in non-traditional alternative uniforms for a game.

It doesn’t even take a change in what the team wears to get the traditionalists upset. All it took one game in the 1990s was Nike dressing coach John Cooper and his assistants in shirts that were more of a burgundy color than scarlet.

So it seems a bit odd that since 2017 the Big Ten has ignored the tradition of Friday nights belonging to high school football.

Ohio State’s trip to Northwestern on Friday night will be the first time the Buckeyes have played a Big Ten game when high schools all over Ohio are also playing.

When OSU coach Ryan Day was asked Monday if he’d heard much criticism from high school coaches about going head to head with a nationally televised Ohio State game, he said, “I’m sure they don’t appreciate it, but that’s out of our hands, out of our control and not much we can do about it.”

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is no fan of Friday night Big Ten games.

When OSU-Northwestern was announced as a Friday night match-up this summer, he told the Chicago Tribune, “This one was out of our control. I understand why we’re doing this, but it does not make me happy. I still fundamentally believe that Fridays are for high school football.”

It’s no secret what happened. The 14 Big Ten schools each collected $54 million from the conference’s television contracts in 2018. Depositing that check is one of their favorite traditions.

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