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Buckeye Bits: Ohio State’s budget cuts, it appears Wyatt Davis is back, more

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer Press Conference Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Good evening LGHL Fam. We are officially 31 days out from the Buckeyes’ season opener against Nebraska, which means it’s all hands on deck as the members of the Ohio State blogosphere race to put together all of their preseason analyses, predictions and season plans. I know we’ve said it in just about every Buckeye Bits since the season was reinstated, but man it feels good to talk about real live football again. In today’s edition of our daily news roundup, we have a new black stripe alert, an update on Wyatt Davis’ return, Gene Smith’s press conference and much more.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Recruiting roundup: A look at some of Ohio State’s remaining 2021 targets

Gene Ross, LGHL

Ohio State’s 2021 class is now second to Alabama in the recruiting rankings, however with two more five-stars expected to join the Buckeyes before all is said and done, Ohio State should still come out on top in the end.

Yesterday’s Bits

Gene Ross, LGHL

Yesterday’s headlines were highlighted by a pair of freshman losing their black stripe, a position-by-position overview of Ohio State’s roster and how the B1G plans to avoid game cancellations. Gene has all that and more in yesterday’s Buckeye Bits.

From around the gridiron...

A week ago today, Wyatt Davis opted back into Ohio State’s 2020 season after the Big Ten announced there would officially be fall football. In his statement, Davis said he would be “working to make (playing at Ohio State) a reality,” as there were some hoops to jump through before he could officially return to the team. Fast forward to today and, welp, I think we can consider Davis’ return a done deal.

On Monday, freshmen Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Kourt Williams lost their black stripes, joining transfer running back Trey Sermon, who was the first to lose the black stripe last Wednesday. Today, freshman WR Gee Scott Jr. became the fourth.

Now onto less-exciting stuff. Ohio State announced budget cuts in a press release Wednesday morning, per Dan Hope of Eleven Warriors.

Ohio State won’t be cutting any of its 36 sports, however, “the athletic department is projecting a $107 million deficit for the 2020-21 academic year due to losses in revenue – including ticket sales, which accounted for $64 million in revenue last year – and will be eliminating 25 full-time athletics positions while also implementing furloughs and pay cuts in order to account for those losses.

Ohio State expects those layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts to result in $7 million in savings. ...Ryan Day and Chris Holtmann will be among the contracted employees taking 5 percent pay cuts.”

Athletic director Gene Smith hopped on a Zoom call with reporters to explain the pay cuts, budget and more. Colin Hass-Hill of Eleven Warriors has the bullet point version of Smith’s presser in the link below, but here are some of the main takeaways:

  • Smith says he is “100 percent” comfortable with Day and Holtmann only taking 5 percent reductions in pay.
  • The budget is “uncertain” and the numbers “mean nothing at this point relative to accuracy.” He points out that the media rights money the athletic department will bring in is not included in the $107 million deficit. At the end of the day, the numbers are estimates.
  • Cutting sports is “not a major conversation.”
  • No coaches were among the 25 people whose jobs were eliminated.
  • Still no clarity on basketball

Buckeye Nation was nothing short of elated when Shaun Wade announced on ESPN that he was returning to Columbus, Ohio to finish out his last season as a Buckeye. The man to thank for helping make that happen? The one and only Kerry Coombs.

Coombs had some serious conversations with Wade last week before he decided to opt out of the season to prepare for the draft. Coombs said he never tried to convince Wade to return, rather he tried to give his cornerback the same advice he would give one of his own sons, ensuring that their relationship would not waver no matter what he decided to do.

“This is a kid that loves his team,” Coombs said. “He loves his university. You guys remember, he committed all the way back when we won a national championship in 2014. He loves to win. I just think he’s an extraordinary kid.”

Now that the Big Ten is officially playing this fall, we can all stop worrying about the future of Ohio State recruiting. Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports talked to Big Ten coaches and staffers about how their recruiting will improve now that they have a season in place.

One Big Ten staffer said the TV exposure is what will benefit them the most, along with the official game day visits.

“If you get to see freaking LSU and all those schools play on TV and you don’t see any of the Big Ten schools, that’s a huge recruiting tool.”

“Another big thing you can do is the virtual game day visits and you get them on Zoom and bring them into your locker room with the head coach, they see the pregame activities with the team, that’s a big thing.”

Another staffer said the way Big Ten handled things may still negatively effect recruiting, regardless of the fact they decided to play.

“I still think the league has a black eye that’s going to take some time but in the long term it will be alright. I’m sure other schools will use that against Big Ten schools and how poorly it was handled.”

Ohio State is back in the mix in a big way, according to the ESPN Allstate Playoff Predictor.

From around the hardwood...

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge will reportedly be played on school campuses this season, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, who previously reported that Orlando, Florida was a possible bubble location for cross-conference tournaments. The college basketball season is set to begin Nov. 25.

From everywhere else...

Today is the 20 year anniversary of one of the greatest movies ever made. Based on the comments on the tweet below, there are some mixed feelings about this comparison.

Do... do the Chargers know what a doctor is?

My apologies for ending Bits on a sad note, but former Ohio State star James Laurinaitis’ father, WWE wrestler Joe Laurinaitis, has passed away at age 60. Our thoughts are with James and his family as they mourn their loss.