By John Porentas
Did you see the game Saturday - or rather what got passed off as a game?
If you watched from home, there was probably some entertainment value in the comedy that was taking place on the field. If you were at the stadium, you had to be wondering how this was worth the 75 dollars or so that seats cost.
Personally, I was left wondering what anybody got out of of it. FAMU Head Coach Earl Holmes said it was a chance for his team to measure itself against a quality opponent and see where they stand.
Coach, you stand at 76-0. I'm not sure you had to travel that 1,000 miles from Tallahassee to find that out. Most people knew that before the game kicked off. You just had to turn on the film, but instead you came to Columbus and your team got embarrassed. Good luck with trying to rebuild their confidence the rest of the year.
OSU running back Jordan Hall's opinion was diametrically opposite. He said these games are about playing against yourself, or at least measuring yourself against your own standards no matter who the opponent is. If you find that a bit convoluted, so did I, but he had to say something, and that was a pretty good stab at trying to make sense of the debacle this was.
You're probably sitting there smugly thinking you know something I don't, that you know darned well what this was about. So do I, but I'm supposed to make this interesting, so you've had to endure my lame attempt at making a silk hat out of a sow's ear. In my best Carnac imitation, I am now going to type the words you have been thinking. (Picture me in a turban holding an envelope to my head and rolling my eyes skyward.)
It was all about the money.
Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people making money. To be honest, I'd like to make more myself, but there is something about this football event (I won't call it a game) that makes me wonder who is steering the ship, and where the ship is going.
Florida A & M got 900,000 dollars for bringing some college students in football uniforms to Columbus and letting them get beat up and embarrassed. 900,000 dollars is a lot of money, so maybe some bruised bodies and egos for college students isn't a big price for that kind of payday. I wonder though if the players who went out there and took the brunt of it all had a vote. By the way, FAMU has been playing football since 1899. The team they put on the field today can go home knowing they participated in the worst loss since 1899 and gave up the most points in any game since that date as well. Most of them will probably get over it some day, and they'll all tell you it doesn't bother them. You can judge for yourself if that's the macho bravado that is incumbent with football or the truth. I know what I think.
Then there's the issue of where that 900,000 dollars came from. It came from the people of Ohio who shell out their money for tickets, parking fees, expensive jerseys, expensive bottled water, and stadium snacks that carry the price of stadium meals. It also comes from TV revenue that you can argue doesn't come from the people of Ohio, but even that money is money that was in the state one minute, and was out of the state the next.
Nobody wants to begrudge FAMU their 900,000 dollars. I'm sure that money will be put to good use in Florida and will help deserving students do good work, but there is a part of me that is uneasy after the game today.
It's that outdated and naive part of me that still thinks people should get their money's worth when they pay for something. I'll leave the stadium today thinking the people who braved the rain and shelled out their money today to see a football game got gypped. That same stupid part of me thinks that 900,000 dollars might also be put to good use here in the state of Ohio where, if you haven't heard, the economy hasn't been exactly wonderful.
If the people paying for the game have to endure a bad one, shouldn't their money at least stay home where it could do them a little good later? Couldn't this game have been against an Ohio opponent? It didn't even have to be a MAC school. Apparently not. Apparently redistribution of the Ohio football wealth that is controlled by Ohio State is a more holistic and sophisticated view and goal, so taking a million or so out of Ohio and sending to Florida for a really bad football event is a good idea...apparently.
Sorry OSU sports administration, it's the price you pay for the price you charge.