"I’m just going to stay away from getting fined. I’m going to try to keep all my money in my pocket."
-Former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, via SportsDayDFW.com
Despite his abs of steel, former Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott will likely not be permitted to roll up his new Dallas Cowboys jersey into a crop top come next season, owing to strict NFL uniform guidelines. The official rule states that the "Jersey must cover all pads and other protective equipment worn on the torso and upper arms, and must be appropriately tailored to remain tucked into the uniform pants throughout the game. Tear-away jerseys are prohibited." Elliott is aware of the rule, and has said that he is planning on avoiding receiving any fines from the league.
Elliott, who was taken with the No. 4-overall pick in the draft, popularized the crop top during Ohio State’s 2014 National Championship run and, despite a subsequent NCAA ban on rolled jerseys in 2015, has continued to wear the style both on and off the field. Most recently, Elliott donned his Cowboys jersey for the first time for the NFLPA rookie premiere over the weekend in Los Angeles and, in typical style, rolled it into a crop top. He also showed off his midriff in a button-down shirt at the NFL Draft in April, causing a stir among some current NFL players including Chicago Bears linebacker Lamarr Houston who called the look "disrespectful."
There is still hope, however, for those crop top lovers and Elliott fans alike in Dallas. Given that the Cowboys are planning on selling crop top-style merchandise with Elliott’s number next season, this may not yet be the end of Elliott’s signature look.
"Once we got going we started to establish what we do and started to put some points on the board and all the way to the end. You know we came back after being down for about two hours and we came back and had our opportunity to win and that’s what you get when you let it slip away from you in the beginning."
-Ohio State men’s tennis coach Ty Tucker, via the Ohio State University
After outstanding seasons for both squads, including conference championships and double-digit win streaks, the season has ended for both the Ohio State Buckeyes men’s and women’s tennis teams.
The fourth-ranked men’s squad fell by a score of 4-3 to No. 12 California in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament Sunday in Tulsa. After going down early, losing the doubles point and the No. 4 and 5 singles, the Buckeyes stormed back with wins at the No. 2 and 3 singles spots to tie the match at 3-3. The season ultimately came down to the No. 1 singles matchup of Ohio State’s Mikael Torpegaard and Cal’s Florian Lakat, which went all the way to a tiebreaker before Lakat sealed the win for the Golden Bears.
Individually, Torpegaard will compete in both the NCAA singles and doubles championships this week, along with his partner, Herko Pollanen. Hugo Di Feo will also compete in singles.
The men finished the season with a 33-3 record, and were both Big Ten regular season and tournament champions.
The women’s squad suffered a similar fate over the weekend, falling 4-2 to No. 12 Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The loss ended a 16-match winning streak for the fourth-ranked team in the country. Still, it was a record-setting year for the team, which also won both the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament and recorded more than 20 wins for the first time in program history. The run to the NCAA quarterfinals was also the furthest that the team has gone in the national tournament.
After losing the doubles point and the first two singles matches to go down 3-0, the Buckeyes rallied with two straight singles wins, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit as Ohio State dropped the final point in a three-set singles match.
Three Buckeyes from the women’s squad will also be competing for individual titles, including Francesca DiLorenzo in singles and Miho Kowase and Anna Sanford in doubles.
"(Friday is) going to be what we call a Memorial Day workout. The players are going to be wearing red, white and blue, and we’ll have some fun with it."
-Urban Meyer, via Bob Hunter, the Columbus Dispatch
For just one day, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is relaxing his rule banning blue at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. As the culmination of what Meyer calls "Patriot Week" leading up to Memorial Day, players will wear red, white and blue attire on their Friday workout this week.
Meyer does not normally take this ban on blue lightly. In the fall, he made offenders do pushups in his "Coaching Football" class, and this spring kicked three students out of an open scrimmage for wearing the color. But in this instance, the exception is warranted, as Patriot Week aims to teach players about the importance of a democratic system.
Meyer began the Real Life Wednesday program in 2012 after being named head coach at Ohio State. Previously, Meyer had instituted the program at Florida prior to his departure as the Gators’ coach. He uses the off-season program to teach players about life outside of football with speakers on topics ranging from how to invest money to entrepreneurship. Former players like Chris Spielman, whose biggest accomplishments after college came off the field, have also spoken in the forum.
In this week’s extended version of the program, players will learn about the process of voting, the importance of participation and the history of voting rights. All players will also be required to pass a test on the material before leaving for the holiday weekend.
"Considering how much talent the Buckeyes lost and how tough their schedule is, it’s hard to imagine the Buckeyes earning a spot in the 2016 College Football Playoff."
-KC Joyner, ESPN
Despite being just one season removed from winning the inaugural College Football Playoff, and despite having a top-10 recruiting class in each of the last two seasons, few are giving the Ohio State Buckeyes a fighting chance at making the 2016 College Football Playoff. Along with Iowa, Michigan State, Ole Miss, TCU, North Carolina and USC, the Buckeyes just fell short of being a contender for next season’s playoff.
Owing in particular to the fact that the Buckeyes had a dozen players taken in this year’s NFL Draft, there is little experience remaining among starters for Ohio State. Even with quarterback J.T. Barrett returning for his junior season, and two starters coming back on the offensive line, the lack of experience at running back, receiver and the rest of the offensive line are disconcerting. On the defensive side, cornerback Gareon Conley and linebacker Raekwon McMillan lead another set of inexperienced players who could have tremendous upside, but are as of yet unproven.
Further, there is the fact that Ohio State is scheduled to face a pre-season top-five team in the Oklahoma Sooners week three of next season--not giving much time for the inexperienced team to gel. And while the Buckeyes will undoubtedly get past some of their growing pains by November, it will still have to face a tough Michigan team in Columbus.
Still, the 2014 National Championship team was supposedly "one season away," with the outstanding but as of yet unproven squad, especially following their loss to Virginia Tech. Perhaps the 2016 team will experience a similar fate.
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