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Urban Meyer teaches his players the importance of freedom on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend. And Urban Meyer is making sure that his players know why.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

"But the No. 1 thing, write this down, is this is about honoring the men and women who serve this country. I should have done something like this long before today."

-Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, via Austin Ward, ESPN

With Memorial Day upon us, we want to take a moment to thank our veterans for their service, and remember our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Urban Meyer has taken this lesson very seriously this year, and has expanded his off-field "Real Life Wednesday" project to include a week-long series of lessons dubbed "Patriot Week," to teach his players about the importance of their freedom and those fighting for it.

The four-day event includes lectures on different topics, including the differences between political parties, the importance of voting and first-hand accounts of Navy SEAL training. While many of these lessons are taught in American History classes, many of the players acknowledged a benefit to being able to reflect on the lessons leading up to Memorial Day. For example, there was also a thorough discussion of the election process in preparation for November’s presidential election, and a hearty debate about past elections among current players. Speakers included Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, along with professors from Ohio State and former servicemembers.The week concluded with a special Memorial Day workout, where players wore red, white and--yes--even blue.

Perhaps the most powerful moment of the week, however, was hearing from a Navy SEAL about training, serving and, ultimately, losing a friend in combat. The players then wrote letters to the families of fallen soldiers. In the words of offensive lineman Pat Elflein, "that puts into perspective what Memorial Day is all about."

"If you take a look at it, the best athletes we had in ‘65 were the football players. "(Arnie) Chonko, (Don) Harkins and Bo Rein. The rest of us, largely sophomores, learned from those guys, how to win, what kind of attitude to get."

-Steve Arlin, Ohio State baseball national champion, via Bob Hunter, the Columbus Dispatch

With a win yesterday over the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Ohio State Buckeyes baseball team earned a Big Ten title--it’s first since 2007--and an automatic berth into the NCAA College World Series. But as the team prepares to head to their regional, they will be massive underdogs in a sport which has been largely dominated by teams from the south and the west. In fact, no Big Ten team has even made the finals of the NCAA tournament since the Buckeyes won it all back in 1966.

It had been a different story before that. Ohio State had finished as runners-up to Arizona State in 1965. The Big ten had also been champs in 1960 (Minnesota), 1962 (Michigan) and 1964 (Minnesota).

Steve Arlin was an integral part of both the 1965 and 1966 teams for the Buckeyes, earning MVP honors in the College World Series and ultimately being selected 13th overall by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1966 MLB Draft. Arlin’s teammate, Chuck Brinkman, said that Arlin was the best pitcher in the NCAA at the time. Arlin was one of five players who went on to play professional baseball. Some of the best players on the 1965 team were also on the football team playing for Woody Hayes, including shortstop Bo Rein, who also played halfback; Arnie Chanko, who was an all-American in both sports; and defensive back Don Harkins.

Now, 50 years later, the Buckeyes will look to redeem not only Ohio State baseball with a second national title, but also the Big Ten conference as a whole.

The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes women’s rowing team continued to make history Sunday at the NCAA Division I Rowing Championships in Golden River, California. The First Varsity Eight, coming off a win in the Big Ten Championships, won its third-consecutive NCAA title--the first team in NCAA history to do so. The third-seeded crew had earned a runner-up finish in its semifinal heat Saturday on its way to the Grand Finals, but edged out California by more than two seconds to win the finals crown.

The Buckeyes finished second overall as a team with 126 points, falling just three points short of California’s total, with 66 points coming from the First Varsity Eight win. The title is California’s third overall, and first since 2006. Ohio State had made history last year by becoming the first school in NCAA history to win three-straight team rowing championships, having defeated top-ranked California in the finals.

Ohio State was one of just three schools to advance all three of its crews, including the First and Second Varsity Eights and the First Varsity Four, to the NCAA Grand Finals Sunday. The Second Varsity Eight earned a second-place finish behind California, earning 42 team points, and the First Varsity Four placed fifth, garnering 18 team points.

Overall, the Buckeyes have earned 10 top-five finishes as a team at the NCAA Championships, including seven national event championships in the last five years. Behind Ohio State, Virginia, Stanford and Washington rounded out the top five. Wisconsin and Michigan finished ninth and tenth respectively