Buckeyes to honor ’02 team

Published 2:02 am Thursday, September 20, 2012

COLUMBUS (AP) — What’s brewing with the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes …

BUCKEYES BUZZ: Ohio State will commemorate its 2002 national championship when it hosts Michigan on Nov. 24.

Players and coaches will be encouraged to return to campus to honor the team that ended the Buckeyes’ 34-year national title drought in football.

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Of course, there are a couple of sticky questions. What about Jim Tressel, head coach of that team, who was forced out in May 2010 for knowing of potential NCAA violations but not telling his superiors? Tressel’s actions (or, inactions, since he sat on the information and continued to play the players he knew were ineligible during the 2010 season) led directly to this year’s team being banned from a bowl.

Also, there’s Maurice Clarett. The Buckeyes would not have won that title a decade ago without him. But his outstanding performance in the desert in Ohio State’s double-overtime win over the Miami Hurricanes is shrouded by the years since. Clarett never played another college game and was eventually hit with NCAA sanctions for taking improper benefits.

He accused Ohio State of academic fraud, sued to jump to the NFL early, was cut when he finally was drafted and subsequently got into legal trouble that led to years behind bars.

But Ohio State AD Gene Smith, speaking on Columbus radio station WBNS on Wednesday, said no one from the 2002 was “banned” from returning for the 10-year anniversary celebration and that all would be welcomed back.

Now, it appears, the next move is up to Tressel and Clarett.

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE: An Ohio State home game used to be the hottest ticket around. Not anymore.

There were seats available all of last season and that is again the case this year. An Ohio State official told The Toledo Blade that 1,500 tickets remain on sale for the Buckeyes’ game Saturday at noon against 37 1/2-point underdog UAB at Ohio Stadium.

Online ticket resale companies had Ohio State tickets for half of the $70 face value.

One longtime Buckeyes beat writer joked online that this was a “$5 game” — fans could walk down the street an hour before the game and pick up tickets for $5.

TRIVIA: Who are the two undefeated Big Ten teams who are bowl eligible?

Answer: Minnesota and Northwestern, both 3-0.

SPEAKING OF WHICH: Here’s this weekend’s Big Ten schedule: Louisiana Tech (2-0) at Illinois (2-1), Central Michigan (1-1) at Iowa (2-1), No. 18 Michigan (2-1) at No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0), Eastern Michigan (0-3) at No. 21 Michigan State (2-1), Syracuse (1-2) at Minnesota (3-0), Idaho State (1-1) at Nebraska (2-1), South Dakota (1-1) at Northwestern (3-0), Temple (1-1) at Penn State (1-2) and UTEP (0-2) at Wisconsin (2-1).


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