Urban Meyer has yet to speak publicly on the plight of Aaron Hernandez, one of his former players at Florida. But two members of the Ohio State coach’s family took to Twitter at midweek to show where they stand on the matter, especially the implication that the way Hernandez was treated during a sometimes troubled three years with the Gators had anything to do with his being accused of murder.
“When will we start holding individuals accountable for their own decisions/actions and stop blaming any/everyone else? #liveyourliferight,” Meyer’s wife, Shelley, tweeted.
His daughter Gigi followed with “Smh ppl lol #liveyourliferight and #stopblamingothers. There’s this thing called #SelfAccountability. It exists, I swear. God Bless.” (For the uninitiated, “Shaking my head, people, laugh out loud.”)
The Crew raised the ire of some of its season-ticket holders by sending them “membership scores” on what kind of fans they are.
Fans shared copies of the mailing on bigsoccer.com — and their thoughts on a pro sports team’s implication that buying season tickets is not good enough. Here’s a partial copy of the note sent by Crew director of client services Tom Bowden, one that was shared by “Big 13”:
“We value your commitment as a Crew season-ticket holder and want to ensure we are helping you maximize your season-ticket holder experience. To date, your membership score is 79.0 (out of a possible 100 points) of your membership. There are many factors that contribute to your membership score, so I wanted to share some suggestions to help you take full advantage of your season-ticket holder experience … ”
The list included perfect attendance, attendance at Crew Soccer Nation events, use of season-ticket coupons that accompany season-ticket packages, calls to the ticket holder’s “dedicated service representative,” participation in team surveys and response to team emails.
It’s hard to believe team officials didn’t anticipate the response. “ZigSix” described this as “very cultish” and “Bill Archer” said, “I’d use the word creepy.” “Zman31” wrote: “I have 4 tickets, 2 of which have perfect attendance. I’ve used a couple of the coupons … So, a solid B/B-. Who thought this was a good idea?”
Bowden eventually tweeted an apology, noting, “Intention was to encourage further use of benefits outside of matches, NOT grade your fandom.”
But that didn’t quiet the online chatter. As of yesterday afternoon, that particular thread carried 141 messages, only a few of which defended the mailing.
BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart gave himself the somewhat unusual task of compiling rankings for every football game involving Big Ten teams this season. But the results were intriguing in one sense: The results are top-heavy and bottom-heavy with Ohio State games.
It wasn’t surprising that Dienhart put the Nov. 30 clash between OSU and Michigan in Ann Arbor at the top, but he also has the Buckeyes’ visit to Northwestern on Oct. 5 and Wisconsin’s trip to Ohio Stadium on Sept. 28 ranked Nos. 4 and 5. Michigan’s home game vs. Nebraska on Nov. 9 and Notre Dame’s visit to Michigan Stadium on Sept. 7 are Nos. 2 and 3. Michigan’s Nov. 2 game at Michigan State is No. 6, so the Wolverines are involved in Dienhart’s top three and four of his top six.
Two games involving OSU were at the bottom of his rankings: home games against Buffalo (Aug. 31) and Florida A&M (Sept. 21) are Nos. 95 and 96.
Ohio State is trying to sign up Hawaii for a home football game in 2015. The tentative date is Sept. 12, when Northern Illinois is penciled in as the opponent. The Buckeyes apparently are trying to move the Huskies to OSU’s open date the following week.
How did Hawaii land on OSU’s radar? Former OSU associate athletic director Ben Jay is the school’s new athletic director.
The “dynamic pricing” ticket model adopted by the Cincinnati Reds this season will be used by Michigan for single-game football tickets this season. Michigan is one of the first college programs to adopt the model, which uses a computer program to adjust ticket prices based on various factors, including ticket inventory in specific locations, the Wolverines’ performance on the field, a visiting team’s record and the weather forecast.
Ohio State adopted a “premium pricing” plan for its football tickets this year, but this is considered a step beyond that.
Hunter Lochmann, chief marketing officer for Michigan athletics, said in a statement, “Dynamic pricing is a practice that has become standard across the sports and entertainment industry after gaining acceptance through airlines and hotels. Pricing dynamically will allow us to adjust single-game ticket prices upward or downward based on real-time market conditions, with the biggest factor being fan demand.”
The move came two months after the school announced a 23 percent hike for student tickets to $40 per game.
A league source told Yahoo.com that oft-injured former Ohio State center Greg Oden, 25, has received interest from eight teams — Cleveland, Miami, San Antonio, Boston, Dallas, Sacramento, Indiana and Memphis — as he attempts to return from his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012 to play in the 2013-14 season.
The source said that Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, is in a “good place” mentally now and hopes to be ready physically to play by training camp. Oden doesn’t appear to be in a rush to make a decision.
While the Cincinnati Bengals have become known for taking chances on players whose character is in question, team owner and general manager Mike Brown told FOXSports.com this week that they intentionally passed on Hernandez when he entered the 2010 NFL draft.
An unfavorable pre-draft report and concerns that there was potential for more off-field problems helped persuade the Bengals to instead take Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham in the first round.
“That one is no secret. We just stayed away from it,” Brown said. “We didn’t question the playing ability. But we went for Gresham.”
Cincinnati wasn’t the only club skittish about Hernandez. Although he won the Mackey Award as college football’s best tight end in 2009, Hernandez was the sixth tight end drafted in his class.
The Bengals apparently saw Hernandez as a bigger character risk than defensive end Carlos Dunlap, another Florida product who was arrested during the 2009 season on a drunken-driving charge.
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.