Fresh off its perfect 12-0 season in head coach Urban Meyer’s first year guiding the program, the Ohio State football team visited the Ohio Statehouse Wednesday to be congratulated by Gov. John R. Kasich.
The Buckeyes in attendance – most of which were starters from last year’s team – toured the Ohio Statehouse and were the recipients of congratulatory and inspirational remarks from Kasich, who also provided advice on how to make the most of their current association with the Buckeyes football program.
While admiring the accomplishments of this year’s team on the field – the Buckeyes won all 12 of their games but won’t play in a bowl as it serves a one-year postseason ban – Kasich spoke at length about the importance making the most of their time on the team in order to prepare for life after football.
“When you’re an Ohio State football player, people want to know you,” Kasich said to the players as they gathered in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office for a tour and brief history lesson. “Some of you are likely to go into the NFL, and I don’t know how long a player lasts in the NFL, but you’re at Ohio State.
“Whatever you’re interested in, whatever you’re taking at Ohio State or whatever your interests are, go and find out who the companies are that you can work for now. I have to tell you, you have leverage. People want to know you. Take advantage of that. Take advantage of the fact that people like you and want to know you.”
The Buckeyes continued the tour to the Ohio Senate, where the players were lauded for their accomplishments. After a lengthy round of applause from onlookers, Meyer took the microphone to thank those who supported the program and also discuss why this year’s team was so successful.
As he did in most interviews since Ohio State completed its perfect season Nov. 24 with a victory over archrival Michigan, Meyer didn’t allow the moment to pass without praising the sacrifices of OSU's senior class.
“I get all defensive sometimes when people stereotype football players and athletes, but I’m one of those guys for the past 26 years that has seen what they do,” Meyer said. “When they earn respect, I think it is really important that we give them respect. This group (with me) definitely earned respect. Respect is not given – it is earned.
“We dedicated this season to the group of seniors. This group of seniors, once the NCAA handed down the sanctions, could have left the state of Ohio and sought out other programs. That happens. Our guys decided to stay.
“I didn’t understand why until about midway through the season. The reason why was crystal clear: because of their love for the university and their love for each other. I understand that we won’t be given the championship, but in my opinion these are my national champions.”
Once removed from the ceremony, Meyer reflected on the opportunity to visit with important members of Ohio’s government, who also – like many of the Columbus’ locals – supported his program every Saturday.
“I have been, I don’t want to say to a lot of similar-type things, but the genuine appreciation for our team was real obvious here,” Meyer said, reflecting on the time given by Kasich. “It was a little bit of a history lesson and the personal approach, especially from the governor, was incredible.”
Junior cornerback Bradley Roby – one of the team’s most impactful performers – also appreciated the experience of visiting the Ohio Statehouse.
“It was a nice that we got to come to the statehouse and mingle with the people,” Roby told BSB. “It was a very interesting day with the stories they told us and they really appreciated how they congratulated us on our season. It was a big honor.”
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