It has been four weeks since Ohio State fired marching band director Jonathan Waters. After three weeks filled with numerous revelations, most of which showed numerous flaws in the Glaros Report that OSU commissioned and used as the basis for the termination decision, things were calmer this week even as both sides stuck to their entrenched positions. That does not mean that nothing happened this week relating to the band and Jon Waters.
Columbus NBC channel 4 has done a phenomenal job of covering this story, seeking to talk to the parties involved and generally digging deeper into the issue. This week, likely in response to all the criticisms of the Glaros report, NBC4 decided to fact check the report. They found that the majority specific examples of the band’s culture problem listed in the report actually dated to before Jon Waters was director of the band. 16 of the 21 listed rookie names, 7 of the 10 listed rookie tricks, a sexual encounter from 2007, and both the attached song book and rookie midterm all actually occurred, or were given out, before Jonathan Waters was named director of the band in 2012. Additionally , NBC4 also asked Bradley Babin, a central Ohio criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who helped lead the Firestone Tire investigation, if the OSU investigation into Mr. Waters and the band culture followed best practices. NBC4’s story strongly suggests that the investigation violated best practices in several aspects, specifically in terms of not interviewing enough current and former band members, not ensuring that they were correct in their understanding of testimony that they received, and that OSU kept the investigation internal and had it run by a relatively inexperienced primary investigator.
On Thursday, OSU President Michael Drake met with OSU band members for approximately one hour in the band center in Ohio Stadium. Not surprisingly, most band members were reluctant to talk about what occurred in the meeting but those that did revealed that President Drake mostly listened and did little talking; check out the above link to hear an interview with one current band member.
Preparations for the Season
Despite the loss of their beloved director, the band continues to prepare for the upcoming season. Many people, myself included, had doubts about whether the band would make their scheduled trip to the season opener at Navy due to the controversy. Fortunately, it has been revealed that TBDBITL will indeed be making the trip to Baltimore and will perform at the season opening clash next Saturday; please check with us next week for more information about the band’s travel and appearances in the Baltimore area.
Even with a busy week of preparation, the Ohio State Marching Band took time out of their schedule to help some members of the Columbus community. In an event organized by Jonathan Waters before his termination, the OSU marching band took time out of their schedule to hang out with children’s from Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, an organization that helps raise money to fight children’s cancer and to support families whose children are fighting the battle against cancer. TBDBITL spent time hanging out with kids who are dealing with cancer, the band and kids hung out on the field in Ohio Stadium and the kids joined the band in marching a double Script Ohio. Parts of the event were filmed by the OSU band photographer, I am working on getting permission to share it, but having seen it, I will admit that I got a bit choked up seeing these brave kids enjoying the chance to march on the field.
We Support TBDBITL
As I wrote earlier in the week, the members of the 2014 edition of TBDBITL have had a rough start to the season as they have had to deal with long sessions of sexual harassment training, the loss of their beloved director, and having their name dragged through the mud by various members of the media some of whom have referred to the band as racist, misogynistic, sexual deviants. This has understandably led to low morale amongst many in the band and prevented them from enjoying their tremendous accomplishment as much as they should.
In an effort to help boost the band morale and show how much Buckeye nation loves them, we here at tBBC have launched a campaign to send messages of support to the band. We ask OSU fans who enjoy TBDBITL to take some time and share what the band means to you as part of the OSU gameday experience or perhaps a favorite memory of the band. We would love for you to share your memories and messages in the comment section below but we would also encourage you to take some time to write down your message and mail it to the band at:
OSU Marching Band
1866 College Road
110 Weigel Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
We also encourage our readers to get others involved in this campaign and have created the hashtag #SupportTBDBITL on social media to help spread share our love and support for The Best Damn Band in the Land. Below various members of tBBC staff share their thoughts on the band.
Ken: Sadly, I have no first hand experience, so I want to relate a second hand story. A few years ago, an acquaintance had the good fortune to attend an Ohio State game at The Shoe. I asked him how it went and how the experience was. He told me that “when the band thundered down the ramp onto the field, then went into their pregame routine, he knew he was at a big-time program. I asked him how the game went, and he replied. “I don’t honestly remember who they played or how the game turned out. But, the band was great.” His overwhelmingly positive experience/memory of Ohio State was created by TBDBITL.
Mali: My connection with TBDBITL is similar to most- they are the “air” that encapsulates Ohio Stadium and makes a great football game more than just a contest between the sidelines. Much is said about the atmosphere of gameday in Columbus; The Ohio State University Marching Band are the “grace notes” on amazing fall Saturdays- before, after, and during the game.
Personally, my daughters are excited every week to see what the band will do, and get sad when it’s a road game. When my wife and I attended The Game in 2012, she made sure to time her bathroom break so as to not miss the halftime show. Good football she’s seen (according to her Husker heart), but nothing compares to The Best Damn Band In The Land.
Jason: The closest personal connection I have to the band is a few twitter followers and having met some former members, things like that.
I completely agree with the sentiment of this thread, TBDBITL is exactly that.
A few of my favorites band moments? There’s so many.
I’ll start with the 98 TTUN game at The Shoe, after the Skull Session. As TBDBITL was marching over to the stadium after coming out the back entrance of St. John Arena they were abruptly cut off by the UM band who was also marching to the stadium. TBDBITL stopped, let the full march of Blue pass, and then the drum major turned to the troops, shouted some instructions, and like soldiers storming Normandy they charged directly through the line of UM band members sending instruments flying and people running for cover. By the time they reached Woody Hayes Drive, they reassembled and finished marching… In front of the UM band.
The 2000 version of The Game, when at the Skull Session they serenaded the UM band with the South Park Movie classic “Uncle F*c$er”.
And of course, the double Script Ohio in Tempe for the National Championship battle with The U. Miami fans we equally impressed at the formation and the tradition as much as they were the rousing welcome and enthusiasm shown by the fans for the band.
Charles: As a former member of the marching band, I obviously have a fondness for them and avidly follow and support them to this day; I have my OSUMB flag flying proudly here in Sydney, Australia. Even before I became a member of the band, I was a big fan and for me attending Skull Session was just as important part of a football Saturday as the game itself. My first encounter with the band was at the 2001 Outback Bowl where my high school band was also performing. I remember watching in awe at the skill and precision of TBDBIL and while the academic scholarships that I received from OSU were the primary reason I chose to go there, the marching band was also a major factor in my decision.