Mailbox: Readers don't like timing of 'obscene' raises for Ohio State football coaches

Brian White
The Columbus Dispatch

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Mar 9, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator Brian Hartline watches as wide receiver Noah Rodgers (80) catches a pass during spring football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

On Ohio State football

Dear Editor: I read with interest about the Ohio State football coaches getting big pay raises. What? Have people forgotten that the university just gave the OSU athletic department a $48 million sweetheart 30-year loan? The university turns down department and faculty requests for funding to improve the education of its students all the time, yet it can give money to the football team to fund large pay raises for the coaching staff. Does this sound right to anyone even remotely paying attention? OSU football is a business. Would any normal business borrow $48 million then give their employees large pay raises? I don’t think so. This seems to give further proof to the idea that what we really have is a football team that also just happens to have a university as a side gig. Maybe the students should just start sending their tuition checks directly to the athletic department and save an intervening step. Chet Ridenour, Worthington

To Brian: I know this week's Sunday Mailbox was full of compliments for your staff's articles, so not sure you will print this, but the salary increase for Brian Hartline to basically keep him from going somewhere else (he will call very few offensive plays as offensive coordinator), plus the modest increases (increases nonetheless) for other coordinators is obscene, particularly in light of the university athletic department borrowing money.

I understand that OSU is guaranteed of sellouts, plus at least nine or 10 wins, three to five usually against poor competition, but since we cannot seem to win big games with superior athletes, isn't it a little obscene with inflation and many Ohio citizens struggling to pay bills to see this type of greed in a "state-supported" institution?

Larry Hood, Worthington

(CBJ08 ARACE LEWIS 1/7/2003) Columbus Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean speaks during a press conference 1/7/03 about the firing of head coach Dave King. MacLean will take the position of interim head coach.  (Dispatch photo by Shari L. Lewis)

On the Columbus Blue Jackets

To Brian: Rob Oller’s piece "First Among Worst" in Thursday’s Dispatch was magnificent journalism. But his conclusion that the problem with the Blue Jackets was the hiring of Doug MacLean, who left the team 17 years ago, is absurd to the point of laughable.

Giving current ownership a free pass for this mess of a franchise is simply not an indulgence McConnell has earned or deserves. Dolan may indeed be a huge problem in NYC, but our current ownership is just as much to blame. While I admire owners who don’t meddle and let their staff do the on-field/ice part, it’s true that owners who demand excellence and hold their staffs accountable usually get better results (see Steinbrenner, George). We have never seen our current ownership publicly own up to the persistent failures on the ice. We have never heard them apologize to the fans for the poor product that we loyally support. And, mostly, we have never received any assurance or promises from them that they will pursue excellence. Good ownership would have overcome the initial hurdles long ago and wouldn’t blame current problems on a long-departed GM.

Brent D. Rosenthal, Westerville

Ohio State forward Cotie McMahon (32) works around Iowa guard Kate Martin, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball championship game at the Big Ten women's tournament, Sunday, March 5, 2023, in Minneapolis. Iowa won 105-72. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

On coverage of women's sports

Dear Dispatch sports editorial staff: I was so excited when I opened my Dispatch this morning and saw the picture of OSU women’s basketball standouts Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell on the Sports front page above the fold, right where it should be after the team came from behind to secure a victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  And, the headline was appropriate: “OSU tops James Madison, treats fan to another comeback win.”

But then came, THUD, Michael Arace’s snarky and disrespectful story lead, (paraphrasing): "Too bad James Madison had to start the tourney in enemy territory ... which is the only reason OSU won." Really? At least he (grudgingly) added: “Credit, then to Ohio State.” He couldn’t have led with, “Buckeye women staged one of their best battle-back efforts of the season to win the game." Or, even the appropriate snarky lead, “While the Buckeye men watched their tournament from home on TV, the Buckeye women advanced.” Please ask yourselves, would this have been your column opening if the story had been about any OSU men’s team?

For too long, we have seen the women’s teams – OSU’s or others – get one-tenth the coverage that the men’s teams get. The Dispatch is no better at this than any other extremely male-dominated newspaper sports staff. The excuse you give is, “Well, you know, readers just don’t care as much about the female teams.” Baloney. Chicken-Egg. If you covered them, people would care more. 

And, while we’re on the subject of women’s sports, when will we ever see more female sportswriters working for the Dispatch, USA Today, or any of the Gannett news outlets?

Michael, I usually like your stuff, but you laid a big one with today’s column, buddy.

Pam Conrad, Grandview Heights

To Pam: If you've read enough of Michael Arace's columns, then you'd know is not afraid to be critical or analytical of men's teams, too. This was not a sexist approach to game coverage.

Ohio State's head coach Chris Holtmann reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa at the Big Ten men's tournament, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

On Ohio State men's basketball

To Brian: The OSU men's basketball team and coaches did a phenomenal job of preparing for the recent Big Ten Tournament. The resulting level of accomplishment, winning three games in three days, will probably never be realized by fans. It has to be enormously difficult to play four successive days as they did (and possibly five) to win the trophy while maintaining the same energy level. And they won without leading scorer Brice Sensabaugh the last two games.

Although we hope next season the Buckeyes will pick up where they left off, the team's development cannot be hurried. Will Sensabaugh return or go pro? Will the lineup gel quickly? And who knows what other conference schools will improve? No doubt the last few weeks have been a positive learning experience. But outside expectations need to be bridled, including any preseason hype. Conference parity alone calls for it.

Larry Cheek, Dublin

Dear Editor: Let’s all hope that the OSU basketball team and coaching staff watched the Fairleigh Dickinson vs Purdue basketball game and learned something. Chet Ridenour, Worthington

Jan 13, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate their win over the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA women's hockey game at the OSU Ice Rink. Ohio State won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

On Ryan Day and Ohio State women's sports

To the editor: Ryan Day showed class when he started his press conference about spring practices with a shout-out to the wildly successful OSU women’s hockey and basketball teams. The Buckeye football team may be the straw that stirs the OSU drink, but the OSU women’s athletic programs add great flavoring to the mixture.

Michael Oser, Columbus

Mar 17, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Michigan State Spartans guard Tyson Walker (2) brings the ball up court toward USC Trojans guard Boogie Ellis (5) during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

On March Madness

To the editor: March is by far the best month of the year to enjoy sports. The weather is too cold to be outside and no yard work needs to be done. I can sit in my recliner with an adult beverage with my salty, medically unsuitable chips at my side and cheer for a multitude of men’s and women’s basketball teams from colleges that I don’t know and locations that I didn’t know existed. No one is arguing politics and all of my friends Black and white have a positive conversation about which team is best and why. My loving wife understands that the honey-do list takes a second seat to roundball. March is the best of all the months of the year except for November if the Bucks beat the team up north and January if the Bucks win the college playoffs.

Michael Oser, Columbus

Major League Baseball is using bigger bases this year.

On baseball

To Brian: Baseball has increased the size of bases for safety reasons. For the same reason, they should also reduce the height of bases. More than a few times, we've seen baserunners, in their haste, hit a bag wrong and sustain a serious injury. Thinner bases could help prevent that.  It doesn't happen often, but often enough to warrant that adjustment as well.  

Dennis Singleton, Dayton

On transgender athletes

To the editor: I recently read about a trans woman winning a cycling race in New York, and how she felt like a “superhero.” This is grossly unfair to women and girls who have worked and trained for years in their sport and ultimately lose out on scholarships and sponsorships because of the unfairness of having to compete against persons born as men.

A man can take puberty blockers when he’s young and surgically change his body to resemble a woman’s, but he can never, I repeat NEVER, change his chromosomes, nor his DNA. He is still a man, and has a physical advantage over women.  

And while on the subject of women’s rights, and fairness, trans women should be provided their own bathrooms/locker rooms. Women and girls should not have to share their facilities with trans women.  

How did we get so politically correct, and so intellectually dishonest that we think people can truly change their sex? It’s time for the truth: it’s impossible.

Jackie Lundberg, Westerville

More from the Mailbox:

Praise for The Dispatch's Adam Jardy; and does March Madness have correct format?

Here's hoping Ohio State football's new quarterback runs more than CJ Stroud did

Blue Jackets remain a mystery; and would Aaron Craft save Ohio State basketball?

Can Les Wexner fix Ohio State men's basketball?

Ohio State basketball's Chris Holtmann, Kevin McGuff under fire from readers

Readers unhappy about Ohio State lending $48M to athletic department

A vote to keep Chris Holtmann; and why do refs hate everything about Ohio?

Readers don't like letter calling Ohio State Buckeyes lucky in 2003 Fiesta Bowl

'Back off!': Readers come to the defense of Ohio State football coach Ryan Day

Threatening OSU players makes no sense; and did refs want Georgia to win for ESPN?

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