According The Columbus Dispatch, they’ve won a lot, but it’s also costing them a lot. Families of Ohio State University Buckeyes football players have had to open their wallets wide, to attend their sons’ playoff games.
“For New Orleans, airfare, family of four, lodging was well above five-grand per family,” contends Annie Apple, whose son Eli is a Buckeyes red-shirt freshman cornerback.
Apple is thrilled that the Buckeyes walloped Wisconsin and overcame number-one Alabama, earning a trip to the championship game versus Oregon in Texas, but points out that families of staff and coaches get much more than the $800 each player’s family gets for travel to each playoff game. That money is coming from a Student Assistance Fund meant more for emergencies. Apple says even though playoff college football is in its infancy, a better support system should be in place. Head Coach Urban Meyer agrees.
“There should be an immediate committee meeting somewhere. These families can’t afford,” he declared to the media just moments after taking down the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide.
O.S.U. Athletic Director Gene Smith echoed the coach’s sentiments Saturday on Twitter, and now Apple, who also heads the O.S.U. Football Parents Association, is calling for families to receive equal support.
“If the Big Ten can provide free airfare, free hotel for coaches’ families, administrative staff and their families, why is it when it comes to the players there’s nothing?,” she quipped during a satellite interview with 10TV Sunday from Philadelphia, just hours after arriving home from the Sugar Bowl. Players’ families also receive six tickets per playoff game.
The comments come just eight days, and perhaps not in time to help, before the championship, but Apple wants to see something done.
“I’m hopeful that, you know, they can Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, and work this thing out for the benefit of these players and their families,” Apple said.
Coach Meyer agrees. “Let’s get them to Dallas to watch their sons play in college football history”.
But at the culmination of a season in which the young Buckeyes were noted for maturing quickly in the face of adversity, their pleas might be too little too late, at least for this year’s inaugural playoff format.
“Unfortunately, something that should have been taken care of at the implementation of this entire college football playoff system,” said Apple.