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A glimpse inside Ohio State's top-notch athletic facilities

Just a couple of weeks ago, the PLL hit the road to Columbus, Ohio for the second time in the league's history. Lucky for us, we had a few hours of downtime in between the game sessions on Saturday afternoon. So, naturally, that meant a quick tour through Ohio State's world-class athletic complex.

Firstly, it's important to note the reason why OSU has facilities with the notoriety that they do. Ohio State disclosed this past year the most revenue of any NCAA program, eclipsing $250 million; they carry the largest sports endowment of any school in the entire continent. They've been recognized as national champions in 15 separate programs, they consistently trot out a perennial contender of a football team, and finished Top 6 in the Athletic Director's Cup in 3 of the last 5 years. There is a palpable sports culture in Columbus, and it's all because of the Buckeyes.

Firstly, it was Ohio Stadium. And with a marvel like this, who wouldn't want to immediately put a deposit down at OSU? Opened in 1922, "The Shoe" has been one of the most formidable football venues in the sport. They've made adjustments and renovations over the years, increasing the capacity from just over 66k to well-over 102k in 2023.

It certainly gives some Colosseum vibes with the raised walls, but it goes to show how a timeless venue can be retrofitted and done well with the right plan.

Then it was on to Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium, home to our PLL Week 3 games. Buckeye Lax programs generally played at Ohio Stadium, but quickly realized that was no home for a lacrosse program, typically selling less than 2% of the overall capacity. The players deserved a bit more of an intimate, rowdy environment, and this past season they were awarded just that.

My first reaction, as yours might be, is "wow, that looks small." Indeed, its size does shock some people; an announced capacity of 2,147 includes just under 900 seats and accommodates a hair over 1,000 in standing-room-only. But with a state-of-the-art training room, heated turf (works perfectly for the brisk February games), and suite-style seating on the roof of a nearby facility, it works well for its purpose.

Of course, no visit could be complete without a walk of the baseball facility.

Yes, "Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium" was a shock to me, and a quick Google search turned up that Swisher was indeed the creme de la creme of Buckeye Baseball. Swisher, who grew up in Columbus, won Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2000, then led the conference the next season with 15 homers and a .322 batting average...then 10 homers and a .348 mark the year after. Of course, he went on to hit 245 home runs in the big leagues, including a four-season stint with the New York Yankees that led to a World Series Championship in 2009.

Onto a quick stop at the Covelli Center, home to volleyball, gymnastics, fencing, and wrestling. I honestly thought this was the perfect size for mid-major basketball; plenty of schools could take note here. OSU Women's Basketball will occasionally play in Covelli as well.

Finally, to a crown jewel of sorts - the Jerome Schottenstein Center, or as it's more commonly known, "The Schott." It's official name currently bears "Value City Arena," but that's been thought to significantly drive down its "X-factor" as a tough place to play. The Schott is much more intimidating.

Ohio State, of course, has a rich tradition of basketball. Immediately when you walk in, you're greeted by a shrine of trophies garnered by the Buckeyes over the years - including the 1960 National Championship.

OSU has sent dozens of players to fruitful NBA careers over the years. Among them - Evan Turner, D'Angelo Russell, Mike Conley, Jae'Sean Tate, Duane Washington Jr., Jim Jackson, and more.

And finally, inside the Schott. Honestly, this was one of the more daunting college hoops venues I've been to. Make no mistake, it's a marvel; at 19k capacity, it'd be hard for a recruit to not visualize this place packed to the brim and screaming your name. But I can certainly see how you would immediately let your mind sprint the other direction; the larger-than-life ceiling, the scoreboard that seems more high-up than normal, and the unforgivingly loud acoustics.


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