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BCS Story Ideas for Media

Royalties from T-shirts, hats support Ohio State programs – Participating in the BCS National Championship Game means big business for the university, which earned a record $5.7 million last year in royalties from the sales of Ohio State memorabilia and products. Winning the National Championship could bring in an additional $3 million to help fund student programs, scholarships, libraries, and academic support for varsity athletes. CONTACT: Rick Van Brimmer, director of Ohio State's Office of Trademark and Licensing Services, (614) 292-1562.

Ohio State alumni in Arizona – There are approximately 4,500 Ohio State alums in Arizona. The Ohio State University Alumni Club of Phoenix welcomes alumni and guests to the Valley of the Sun with events and Buckeye camaraderie. The club website www.osuphx.com offers an up-to-date list of events, as well as lists of Buckeye-friendly establishments and links.
Alumni events include the Buckeye Bash® – an Ohio State tradition since 1969 at Chase Field, (401 E. Jefferson in Phoenix) home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2:20 to 7 p.m. on Sunday (1/7). This free event will feature remarks from Buckeye coach Jim Tressel, Alumni Association president and CEO Archie Griffin, and athletics director Gene Smith, as well as performances from the Ohio State University Marching Band, the Buckeye cheerleaders, and more. CONTACT: Jay Hansen, director of communications for the Alumni Association, (614) 292-9311 or hansen@ohiostatealumni.org.
Other events include the Pep Rally Block Party, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday (1/7) at the Acme Bar & Grill, 4245 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale; and the Game Day Block Party from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Monday (1/8) at Varsity Club West, Westgate Center, Glendale. Arizona alumni are also planning a charity event with University of Florida Alumni of Phoenix either Jan. 3 or 4, in the city of Buckeye, Arizona; and a gathering to watch the men's basketball game on Jan. 6. CONTACT: Beth Eichwald, president of OSU Alumni Club of Phoenix, osuphx@cox.net

Ohio State University Alumni Association, Drexel team up to host BCS Gamewatch Parties. Drexel Theatres Group and The Ohio State University Alumni Association Inc. invite Buckeye fans to watch the biggest game of the year on the biggest screens in Columbus at the Arena Grand and Drexel Gateway theatres.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. on Monday (1/8) at the Arena Grand Theatre, 175 W. Nationwide Blvd., and the Drexel Gateway Theater, 1550 N. High Street, for a unique game-watch featuring door prizes and Buckeye trivia sponsored by the Alumni Association. In addition, tailgate-style drink and food specials will be available at both locations. Although admission is free and open to the public, fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item. All donations will be given to a local food bank.
The game will be shown in all auditoriums and lobbies in both facilities. All auditoriums feature stadium-style recliners and top-quality sound. Seating capacity is approximately 800 at the Drexel Gateway Theater and 1,500 at the Arena Grand Theatre. CONTACT: Drexel Theatre Events, (614) 469-1074.

The National Championship is big news in a small Ohio town – Piqua, population 20,000+, is home to Quinn Pitcock, one of the BCS-bound Buckeyes team captains. It's also the home of Atlantis Sportswear, a family-owned business that stands ready to turn out a quarter million National Championship T-shirts, should the Bucks be triumphant over the Gators. "The designs are ready, and we'll start printing right after the final whistle and print all night long," owner Scott Reardon said. Reardon has been an Ohio State licensee for 15 years, producing Buckeye-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jerseys and caps. In addition to the Piqua plant, Reardon will utilize 22 other printing presses in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus to turn out items if the Buckeyes win. Couriers will come in throughout the night to deliver the items to vendors, such as Kroger's, Buckeye Corner, Conrad's, Wal-Mart and Meier's, and the items should be in place by noon the next day. Here's yet another case of a Buckeye win becoming a win for Ohio's economy, too! Reardon and his wife, Gail, have owned Atlantis Sportswear for 21 years. CONTACT: Scott Reardon, (800) 578-3374, ext.12.

Consistent karma – Team spirit lies in the heart of every Buckeye football player, but also in the mouth. Dr. Deborah Mendel, team dentist for the OSU Department of Athletics, started crafting scarlet mouth guards for athletes in 2002, the same year the Buckeyes won the national championship. Though Mendel considered making a special edition Fiesta Bowl mouth guard with the 2006 BCS logo, many players resisted. "They didn't want to ruin the karma from the 2002 win," she said. Individually molded to fit each player, the scarlet mouth guards contain the "Block O" logo on the front and the athlete's name along the side. Old superstition may beat new style, but Mendel said she's glad the players love the original design. "Anything we can do to support our team and be a part of the athletic family," she said, "we'll do it." CONTACT: Dr. Deborah Mendel, (614) 292-7604.

Office of Minority Affairs to host recruiting brunch – Just as the Buckeyes field their best athletes in pursuit of the National Championship, Ohio State is also committed to recruiting the country's top academic talent to Columbus. The Office of Minority Affairs will host a recruiting brunch for underrepresented high school students in the Phoenix area at 10 a.m. on Saturday (1/6) at the Hyatt Regency, 122 N. Second St. Students who have applied to Ohio State for autumn 2007, as well as high-ability juniors, will be invited to meet with key university administrators and learn about the many academic opportunities offered at Ohio State. Four travel vouchers will be raffled off for a future visit to campus. CONTACT: Eric Troy, Minority Affairs, (614) 688-3704.

"Bowl Bound Buckeyes" contest winners headed to Arizona – Not much can keep a college student in on a Saturday night, let alone on Ohio State-Michigan game day, but the incentive of a free National Championship bowl package did the trick. Three first-year students will attend the game in Arizona as winners of Ohio State's "Bowl Bound Buckeyes" contest. The University Housing initiative encouraged on-campus student residents to check-in with their hall advisors at various times throughout the evening following the Ohio State-Michigan game. Approximately one-third of the 9,000 campus residents participated in the event. CONTACT: Ruth Gerstner, Student Affairs, (614) 207-4913.

Colleges collaborate for community service – For the 9th consecutive year, Ohio State will offer a helping hand in the host community of the bowl game. Staff, students and alumni from Ohio State and the University of Florida will team up to sort food items and pack food boxes for the hungry at St. Mary's Food Bank (2841 N. 31st Ave.) on Sunday, January 7th from 9 to 11 a.m. St. Mary's, where Ohio State volunteers also worked during the 2003, 2004, and 2006 Fiesta Bowls, is the nation's first food bank and is the second largest in the country. Ohio State participants include President Holbrook, University Trustees, football coaches' wives, University administrators, Sportsmanship Council student chairs and student leaders. CONTACT: Tracy Stuck, (614) 657-8761.

Heart research at OSU Medical Center could help athletes. Searching for statistics on heart disease in athletes is generally futile these days because no such reliable data on American athletes exist – yet. Dr. Christine Lawless, who recently joined the division of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University Medical Center, aims to lead the way in developing national data on heart conditions in athletes. Lawless is heading a research project at Ohio State that asks each student athlete to undergo EKGs and echocardiograms, to screen for potential heart problems. "Athletes appear invulnerable. We don't want to believe someone that healthy can have a cardiac problem. They feel perfectly fine, but we often hear of a perfectly healthy athlete falling over from sudden death. Those are the athletes we want to find before that happens." And as the first U.S. physician to earn board certification in both cardiology and sports medicine, Lawless is among very few specialists with the comprehensive expertise to tackle such an endeavor. CONTACT: Emily Caldwell, Medical Center Communications, (614) 293-3737, emily.caldwell@osumc.edu. SEE: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/mediaroom/press/article.cfm?ID=2826&i=5#

Best Fans in the Land get the best reward in the world – Long before the Sportsmanship Council started the Best Fans in the Land Competition, two roommates made it their mission to attend the games, meets and matches of all 36 OSU varsity sports before they graduate this spring. Lucky for them, this achievement now comes with a prize—a free trip to the National Championship game. In order to increase student attendance at the various OSU athletic events, the Sportsmanship Council started a contest where students earned points by going to various games, said Robbie Beaulieu, the group's co-president. The two roommates, who split the package because of a tie, accumulated the most points by attending more than 30 different events. "The incentives were really unexpected from the students," Beaulieu said. "They thought it was going to be a t-shirt or something, but they were amazed at the prizes they got." The competition, which will start anew next quarter, has already helped increase the overall athletic attendance, Beaulieu said. Football hype has never been higher, but for OSU's Best Fans in the Land, no sports are forgotten. CONTACT: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276.

Third time's a charm – Script Ohio fascinates fans, but with the infamous strut, kick and bow required to "dot the i," the sousaphone player becomes the star of the show. At the 2006 National Championship, where there will be a double Script Ohio, Dan Wanders and Austen Rau will each perform the OSU honor for their third time. Rau "dotted the i" two times earlier this year, while Wanders earned the privilege at the biggest games of the season when the Buckeyes played Texas and Michigan. "I've lived the dream this year," Wanders said. "I'm honored and privileged to have this opportunity, but this one means more than others because my peers chose me to represent them on such a big stage." Dotters are selected by rank during the season, but for the championship game, there was a rigorous competition where sousaphone players voted on their favorite dotters. "The Script Ohio is a very unique thing," Wanders said. "There's no other band that does anything like it. It's really something else. It's one of the greatest sports traditions there are and it embodies what college sports are all about." CONTACT: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276.

New buckeye products include postage stamps, lip balm – New officially licensed Ohio State products now include stamps and buckeye flavored (peanut butter and chocolate) lip balm. Stamps are available from http://photo.stamps.com/Store/catalog/licensed_sub_category.jsp?id=cat454210128, or Melissa Crawford, Stamps.com / PhotoStamps.com, (310) 482-5858, mcrawford@stamps.com. Buckeye Balm is available through Shaw Print and Promotion, (614) 224-5844 or (800) 229-5844, Carole Gavazzi, caroleg@shawpp.com. CONTACT: Rick Van Brimmer, director of Ohio State's Office of Trademark and Licensing Services, (614) 292-1562.