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Ohio State football traditions: The Tunnel of Pride

Ohio State football has a long, rich history filled with traditions, including the Tunnel of Pride.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

When a football program has been in existence since 1890, it's bound to be surrounded by rich, dearly-held traditions. That is certainly the case for the Buckeyes. Many of these traditions began many decades ago, such as the "Block O" student section which began in 1938, or the tradition of providing players with gold pins in the shape of pants to commemorate victories over That Team Up North, which was initiated in 1934.

The Tunnel of Pride is a newer tradition, but no less important than the others. The Tunnel of Pride is a tradition that originated during the 1995 season, when Ohio State was set to face Notre Dame in Ohio Stadium for the first time since 1936. To invigorate the players and show support for the Buckeyes, former Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger, and the Buckeyes' starting quarterback from 1968 through 1970, Rex Kern, came up with the idea of creating a human tunnel of former Buckeyes players for the current players to run through when entering the field.

The Tunnel of Pride is typically reserved for each home game against That Team Up North, as well as bowl games. Buckeyes alumni made an exception, however, to welcome the team to the field as Ohio State prepared to face Akron in the 2011 season opener.

If you'll remember, the months leading up to that season opener could best be described as tumultuous for the program. The memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal and the subsequent fallout shook the football program to its core, and head coach Jim Tressel had resigned in the wake of the scandal. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor had declared for the supplemental draft. The team was under the leadership of interim head coach Luke Fickell, and freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. Former Buckeyes decided that it was a perfect time to show their support for the Buckeyes by welcoming them to the 2011 season with the Tunnel of Pride.

The Tunnel of Pride doesn't have the lifespan of many Ohio State football traditions, but it certainly embodies the spirit of what Buckeyes football is all about. Keep an eye out for the Tunnel of Pride before the Buckeyes take on That Team Up North in the coming season.