More (Sigh) Black Eyes For The Scarlet And Gray

Today the Ohio State football team, through Head Coach Urban Meyer, announced disciplinary action against four — four! — student athletes.

IMG_1846Running back Carlos Hyde was suspended from football activities pending the outcome of criminal and student code of conduct investigations.  Hyde reportedly was named in a police report relating to an alleged assault of a woman in a Columbus bar.  In the meantime, cornerback Bradley Roby was involved in a disturbance in a bar in Bloomington, Indiana and faces misdemeanor battery charges.  A freshman, Marcus Baugh, won’t be participating in team activities and will have to sit out the first game after being arrested for underage possession of alcohol, and yet another freshman, defensive lineman Tim Gardner, was sent home and will not be part of the 2013 team after being charged by Columbus police with “obstruction of official business.”

I hate to read this kind of news, because it is an embarrassment to the University.  It plays into every stereotype about Ohio State being a football factory.  After dealing with a series of NCAA violations that left the team ineligible for a bowl last year, the Buckeyes had been working hard to refurbish the team’s, and the school’s, reputation.  This news just makes the effort to restore the University’s reputation that much harder.

I recognize that student-athletes are young, and young people often make bad decisions.  That rationale may work for freshmen, but there is no excuse for upperclassmen like Hyde and Roby to be in a bar in the wee hours, putting themselves in a position where bad things predictably could happen.  They are supposed to be leaders, not problems.  Rather than setting good examples, they’ve made Urban Meyer’s job that much more difficult — and have provided more fodder for more crass jokes and snide comments about The Ohio State University.

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A Royal Baby

The BBC is reporting that the Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William, has been taken to the hospital for delivery of their first child.

There will be thousands of babies born in the world over the next 24 hours, but this is the one who will receive the attention.  The news of the impending birth makes the front page of the BBC website, knocking world crises to the back page.  In other parts of the world, it would just be Will and Kate getting ready to welcome a new member to their family, as parents have done for time immemorial.  But this birth is different, because the child will be “royal.”

It’s amazing that the British monarchy has survived into the 21st century.  You would think that the civilized world has moved past the quaint notion of kings and queens and royal prerogative, but obviously it hasn’t.  The British royal family has become a kind of national symbol, and its members have moved comfortably into the modern notion of celebrityhood that seems to dominate so much of our culture, where people are famous for being famous.  It’s why so many people in America are as interested in the birth as the people of Great Britain.

What must it be like, to be born into the British royal family?  To be heir to immense wealth and property, to be identified as in the line of succession, to be able to jet around the world at your whim — and, at the same time, know that everything you do will be covered by the tabloids, your every indiscretion will be publicized, and even a beautiful, private moment like the birth of your first child will occur in the glare of the public spotlight, with some functionary lecturing you about the proper protocols?

Good luck, kid — I think you’re going to need it.