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Why is this news?: Former Ohio State OL bares all, men’s basketball attendance up

Ever wanted to see an awful lot of Jack Mewort? Well, you're in luck!

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

"I’ve always been a big kid. That’s why when I got this call I was like ‘They want to see me naked?’ I thought I was getting punked."

-Colts OL Jack Mewhort to ESPN, via David Briggs, The Toledo Blade

Former Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, who is entering his second season with the Indianapolis Colts, is ready to bare (almost) all in ESPN’s annual Body Issue, which comes out this week. Mewhort, who stands at 6’6", 312 lbs., described the shoot as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Mewhort, a three-year starter and captain, graduated from Ohio State in 2014, and started all 16 games as a rookie last year for the Colts. He described the shoot as a "great experience," despite some nerves going into it.

Along with Mewhort, fellow Colts lineman Anthony Costanzo and Todd Herremans are being featured in the magazine. The three linemen are the first offensive linemen to be highlighted in the seven years the body issue has been published. While the Body Issue traditionally featured cut, trim athletes, ESPN has shifted the focus to the best athletes in the world, regardless of shapes and sizes, and aims to highlight the unique physiques that serve them well in sports.

This year, ESPN is highlighting 24 athletes in all. Others being featured in the issue are Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and WNBA Phoenix Mercury center Britney Griner. Other athletes come from a wide range of sports, and many are Olympic medalists.

"NCAA college basketball attendance remains remarkably consistent across the country and all three NCAA divisions, as fans and alumni support their favorite teams from the largest arenas to the smallest gyms."

-Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president for men’s basketball championships

The Big Ten led Division I conferences in men’s basketball attendance in the 2014-15 season, helped along with the 2014 additions of Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. Including all home and conference tournament games, nearly 3.2 million fans attended Big Ten games—the second highest conference total ever after the Big East’s 2006-07 season, which included 16 teams in the conference.

The Big Ten also led in average conference attendance, with 12,781 fans per game. This season was the conference’s 39th consecutive season leading the category.

A total of 32.5 million fans attended NCAA men’s basketball games last season, a slight boost from the previous season. Division I saw a slight decrease to 27.4 million attendees in more than 5,500 games, though NCAA tournament attendance did increase to the third-highest attendance in its history at 739,798 fans attending.

Ohio State was No. 10 nationally in Division I for all games attendance, which includes home, away and neutral site games, with 507,711 fans coming out to watch. The Buckeyes were No. 16 in average attendance, with 14,648 fans per game for a total of 292,068 attendees last season in 20 home games.

Syracuse was No. 1 in average attendance for the second straight year with 23,854 supporters per game. They edged Kentucky, who averaged 23,572 attendees in its perfect regular season, and who had held the attendance record in the eight seasons prior to Syracuse taking the crown. Wisconsin, the Big Ten team with highest average attendance, came in No. 5 nationally with 17,279 fans attending per game.

"When you get down to it, Ohio State shouldn’t identify with just one position group. It’s too historically deep at too many positions. The Buckeyes aren’t Linebacker U or Running Back U. No. Ohio State is really home to Football U."

-Blake Williams, Buckeyesports.com

With some of the best players in the history of football at a variety of positions, Ohio State is a legitimate contender as the ultimate "Football U." Scout.com is identifying the pivotal players at key positions—from running backs and receivers to linebackers and linemen—who have solidified Ohio State’s reputation as a producer of great football talent at every position.

The "College of Running Back" begins with Archie Griffin, who remains the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, receiving the award in both the 1975 and 1976 seasons. He is also a three-time All-American, four-year starter, College Football Hall of Famer and record holder for all-purpose yards at Ohio State.

Eddie George, who is second to Archie in career rushing yards at Ohio State, won the Heisman in 1995 and went on to be the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1996 with the Houston Oilers and a four-time Pro Bowler. He also is second to Walter Payton with 130 consecutive starts.

Other greats, like Chic Harley and Vic Janowicz, played in an era where they had to do more than just run the ball, and played as kickers, punters and safeties, among other things. Les Horvath was Ohio State’s first Heisman winner, and Howard "Hopalong" Cassady was instrumental in bringing home Ohio State’s second national title in 1954. Others, like Tim Spencer, Keith Byers and Chris "Beanie" Wells have helped to pave the way for Ohio State’s newest talent, like junior Ezekiel Elliott.

Here’s the stats:

  • Five Heisman Trophy winners
  • Six Heisman Trophies
  • Nine selected in the first round of the NFL Draft
  • 13 All-American selections
  • Seven in the College Football Hall of Fame

"We are very excited to be bringing the Ohio State University to Wembley and can’t wait to see what they have in store for our fans. This will be very different to anything we have done at the International Series games before and we know that the band is planning something spectacular to celebrate and commemorate being in the UK."

-NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood, via The Ohio State University

The NFL has selected the Ohio State Marching Band to perform in London prior to the overseas matchup between Jacksonville and Buffalo Oct. 25—the first time "The Best Damn Band in the Land" will perform internationally. It will also be the first time that an American marching band has performed for an NFL UK game. The game, hosted at Wembley Stadium, will be the second of a three game series in London. This is the ninth straight year that NFL games have been held at Wembley since the series began in 2007.

The NFL requested a "London-themed" pregame show, but creative direction will be left up to the band, which has outdone itself the past few seasons with instant classics like this Hollywood-themed halftime show from 2013. Beyond Script Ohio, the band has become famous for its innovative routines, as well as its use of iPads to help map out formations. It is also the largest all-brass and percussion band in the world with 225 members.

The band has performed at Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns games in the past, but international travel has been difficult to schedule during the college football season.

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