Heyward, Sanzenbacher Headline Graduation Day at Ohio State
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The clouds rolled lazily over Ohio Stadium Sunday and the heat wave that has plagued Columbus subsided long enough for 132 Ohio State student-athletes to receive their degrees during spring commencement.
With United States Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner delivering the keynote address, former Buckeyes like Donald Washington and R.J. Umberger returned to get their diplomas alongside current Ohio State football players like Tyler Moeller and Joe Bauserman.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“It’s a great achievement,” Moeller said after receiving his bachelor’s degree in consumer affairs with a minor in business.
“It’s like a big weight getting lifted off my shoulders. It’s not easy balancing football and school, but now I have something to fall back on when my football playing days are through.”
Moeller has been in Columbus for five years now after signing with the Buckeyes out Cincinnati Colerain. He was expected to be a major factor on the 2010 defense, but suffered a season-ending injury early in the season.
He petitioned the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility and Moeller will be one of the key players on the OSU defense this fall. He might even serve as a captain for the Buckeyes, which would put him in the same company as Cam Heyward, Dane Sanzenbacher and Brian Rolle, all of whom received their degrees Sunday at Ohio Stadium.
With so much turmoil surrounding Ohio State—which has lost a head coach and a star quarterback in the last month—there will be a different, uneasy, feeling at Ohio Stadium this fall as the program awaits punishment from the NCAA.
For one last day, however, there was nothing but smiles at the Horseshoe as three of Ohio State’s 2010 co-captains bid their university farewell in cap and gown.
“Being in Ohio Stadium one last time won’t compare to being in a game there,” said Sanzenbacher, who received his bachelor’s degree in business marketing.
“It will be cool, though, to have your last official university event in the place where you put in so much work.”
In all there were 15 Ohio State football players who received their degrees Sunday, including 11 from the 2010 Big Ten Conference and Sugar Bowl championship team. That included Moeller, Heyward, Sanzenbacher, Rolle, Taurian Washington, Evan Blankenship, Connor Smith, Don Matheney, Joe Cech, Garrett Hummel and Joe Bauserman, who received his bachelor’s degree in Fisheries& Wildlife.
Along with Donald Washington, a cornerback on the 2009 Ohio State team, former Buckeyes Ken Blair, Dwight Smith and Dan Potokar also received their degrees as University President E. Gordon Gee addressed a crowd of Ohio State fans taking a break from the football lashings to focus on something a bit more important.
“Let me acknowledge on this day of celebration, in this cathedral of triumph and hope, that many Buckeye hearts are heavy,” Gee said in front of a record-setting 9,655 graduates.
“On rare occasion, this great grand building has been home to disappointment and tumult. That is but a temporary condition.”
Gee received cheers and applause from the crowd on hand before turning the ceremony over to the chair of Ohio State’s board of trustees, Les Wexner, who honored Boehner with an honorary doctorate.
A graduate of Xavier University and native of Cincinnati, Ohio, the speaker of the House gave a tearful address where he talked about giving back to the world with a humble spirit.
“Life isn't always about you,” the Republican from West Chester said.
“Being useful to others, being involved in your community ... that's what I call humility. If you do the right thing for the right reasons, good things will happen.”
That is a lesson Ohio State could use right now.
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