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And here I thought Michigan was the root of all evil at Ohio State. Instead, it turns out another "M" rival -- money -- has wormed its way further into the mix.
Chris Spielman suing Ohio State? Archie Griffin in Spiels' corner? Holy Brutus Buckeye.
Let's not kid ourselves, money has always mattered in college athletics. From the time the first dollar sign appeared on the first game ticket, to the first booster offering that recruit a $100 handshake, to the first $7 hot dog, cash has threaded through amateur athletics like a fiber dangling from the sleeve. A nuisance, but without it things unravel.
Still, for decades the Benjamin Franklins mostly remained in the background. Today, however, profits have become so powerful that money demands a corner office and promotion to associate athletic director.
The above is financial foreshadowing to the stunning news on Friday that Spielman, the former Ohio State All-America linebacker, is suing his alma mater on behalf of all former and current Buckeyes football players. The class-action lawsuit takes issue with 64 banners that hung at Ohio Stadium last fall that featured players' likenesses and a corporate logo for Honda, but it also mentions jerseys, photographs, signatures and more.
Spielman told Dispatch reporter Bill Rabinowitz that it pains him to sue Ohio State, but "players have a right. If somebody wanted to endorse you, don't you think you have a right to say yes or no, or to negotiate?"
Yes, I do. Apparently, so does Griffin, the two-time Heisman Trophy winner and former president and CEO of the OSU Alumni Association who supports Spielman's efforts to gain recompense from universities and corporations that benefit from the use of players' names and likenesses.
Ohio State takes a different tack, which explains why negotiations between Spielman's attorney, Brian K. Duncan, and the university dragged over the past eight months without any compensatory agreement being reached.