From time to time you will see Buckeye fans who object when others refer to us as “Ohio”. I believe that this
is remarkably silly and represents a remarkable ignorance of our heritage and history. As I will show, references to OSU
as “Ohio” are frequent in historical news reports, songs, names, etc.
Of course, much of the problem stems from the identification of Ohio University as “Ohio”, and the lawsuit between
the two schools over the use of the term. Personally, I do not refer to OU as “Ohio”, as I reserve that title
for Ohio State, and am not at all willing to cede our historical claim to the name in order to pacify them or avoid confusion.
First, simply consider various references to “Ohio” without the trailing “State”:
1. Ohio Field and Ohio Stadium
2. Script Ohio
3. the “OH-IO” and “O-H-I-O” cheers
4. Our school songs. Consider one of our two fight songs, Buckeye Battle Cry: “In old Ohio, there’s a team that’s
known throughout the land…Come on, Ohio!...Our honor defend, we will fight to the end for O-HI-O!” The word “State”
does not appear in the song.
Or consider our other fight song, Fight the Team: “Show them Ohio’s here…wahoo, wahoo, for O-hi-o!”
Again, the word “State” does not appear in the song.
Even more telling is the alma mater, Carmen Ohio: “Oh come let’s sing Ohio’s praise…Time and change
will surely show, how firm thy friendship O-hi-o!” The alma mater is not just a fight song; it is the expression of
our deepest feelings of love, respect, and loyalty to our university. Buckeyes have sung this song for over a century, and
no one has ever found it odd that the word “State” never appears in the song.
Newspaper accounts, as well as identification from official university sources (again, as an alternative name, not as the
official name), referred to “Ohio” from the beginning of the athletic program throughout the 1960s. I will cite
examples from The Ohio State Football Scrapbook by Cohen, Deutsch, and Neft. These are not exhaustive from the book,
but are merely illustrative:
The program from the 1903 home game against Indiana (in other words, something printed by the university or its athletic
apparatus) says “Ohio vs. Indiana” on the cover (pg 21)
A November 25, 1904 Plain Dealer article on the Carlisle game is subheadlined “Ohio State Could Not Win From
Even the Carlisle Second Team”. Within the article, “Ohio braced up considerably…The Ohio backs and ends
played a good defensive game at times…made by Ohio in the first half…Ohio worked the ball up…” (pg
22). As in most of the cases I will cite, “Ohio” and “Ohio State” are used interchangeably throughout
the article, just as today a writer might use “OSU”, “Ohio St.”, and “the Buckeyes” in
order to mix things up. I am in no way claiming that “Ohio” was used to the exclusively.
An article on the 1916 football season in the OSU yearbook, the Makio (again, either an official university publication
or one produced by those very close to the university (students)): “splendid defensive stand by Ohio…it was Ohio’s
ball…not a single end run was attempted by Ohio.” (pgs. 40-41, with similar useage in the 1917 article on pgs
A 1928 AP article on the UM game: “It was all Ohio…heading the Ohio outfit” (pg 73)
the 1935 OSU roster (presumably as part of a university-backed program or yearbook) is entitled “1935 Ohio State
Football Roster”, but the coaches are listed under the heading “Ohio Coaching Staff”; the accompanying team
photo is entitled “Ohio Squad” (pgs 90-91)
a 1948 AP article on the UM game: “saw the Ohioans…Ohio ripped the Michigan line apart…Ohio rolled up
130 yards.” (pg 129)
a 1957 AP story on the UM game: “Twice the Ohio team…Ohio’s Don Clark…Ohio never lost its poise.”
a 1968 AP story on the UM game: “A potent Ohio defense…It was the worst beating Ohio ever handed Michigan.”
If you look at the scarlet and gray painted endzone for the 1969 Rose Bowl, you will see a buckeye leaf and the word “OHIO”.
Woody Hayes often signed autographs with “Yea Ohio!” in addition to his signature. The logo of the Ohio State
University Marching Band is diamond Ohio, seen on the top of this page. The OSU radio announcer for the 1975 UM game says
“Touchdown Ohio!”--my understanding is that he consistently used “Ohio”, but I don’t have sound
clips from all of those games that I can personally vouch for, which does not at all mean that it is not true.
Please do not get the wrong impression from any of this; I am not saying that there is anything wrong with using Ohio State
as an identifier for our school or our athletic teams. There are a number of acceptable names by which you could call us:
“The Ohio State University”, “Ohio State University”, “Ohio State”, “Buckeyes”,
“Bucks”, “TOSU”, “OSU”, “Ohio”…all of these are fine and acceptable
ways to refer to our school. All I am trying to do in this piece is to point out that “Ohio” has traditionally
been one of these, that all OSU partisans visit places and sing songs that refer solely to the university as “Ohio”,
and that it is a perfectly reasonable position to continue to do so.