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“I touched his hand!”

People often take an interest in particular celebrities and treat them like royalty. This happens commonly with people but not typically in reference to an athlete. In Columbus, however, the opposite seems to be true when it comes to Ohio State football players.

OSU’s football players are treated like celebrities both on and off of campus. Brittany Menninger, a diver at Ohio State, says that the players are often “stopped by fans and asked for pictures or autographs.” Ezekiel Elliott, the 1st string running back at Ohio State, has 258,000 followers on Instagram alone.

This trend can be beneficial for the team in terms of a motivational perk for players to improve their level of play in front of thousands of adoring fans. It can also serve as a source of pride for Columbus, as having members of the community with fans and followers reflects positively on the university and the city.

Yet this VIP status can also have a negative aspect to it. Collegiate athletes are also supposed to be students. Students’ worth should not be  based solely on their athletic fame. For instance, at Northwestern University, a college known to value academic achievement, its football team has cumulative GPA of 3.08 for a team of 99 athletes. The Ohio State football team has a cumulative GPA of 2.83 for a team of 116 (as of 2014). Both universities have strong football programs, and both universities are Division 1, Big Ten schools with roughly the same sized teams.

So next time you see a football player on OSU’s campus, instead of asking for his autograph or shaking his hand, consider that maybe he is in a hurry to get to a class or meet with a professor.

While being a star player on an “Undisputed” National Champion team can seem attractive to thousands of fans, it is important to recognize that as long as these players still attend college, they are not full-time athletes or full-time celebrities, but full-time students.

by Esther Lawrence’18


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