Violence in College Football: OSU vs. Michigan


Chris Colella, Junior Sports Writer

It’s perhaps the biggest rivalry in all of college football, and you know when Ohio State and Michigan take the field against one another, both viewers and players are in for a real blood battle. Every season when these two highly respected teams meet on the gridiron, it’s an extremely emotional and physical game. In this year’s meeting between Ohio State and Michigan, a fight broke out between opposing athletes early in the second quarter. It’s surely an event neither of the teams will forget any time soon, and presents a commentary on sportsmanship that has led to much discussion.

With 14:28 remaining in the second quarter, Michigan had just kicked off to Ohio State after a Michigan score.  OSU’s Dontre Wilson was back deep to return the kick. After a decent return, Michigan’s Dennis Norfleet made the tackle on Wilson. It was a tackle in which Norfleet grabbed Ohio State’s Wilson around the upper body and slammed him into the ground. Dontre Wilson did not appreciate the tackle, possibly thinking it was a dirty play, and attempted to grab for Norfleet as he was moving away from the area where the play had occurred. This was not a smart move by Wilson. Before Wilson knew it, he had a herd of Wolverines standing over him after they saw what Wilson had attempted to do. Dontre Wilson stood up in the middle of them, and it didn’t take long for tempers to flare.  Defending himself,  Wilson, and a few of his fellow Buckeye teammates joined in as pushing and shoving began on the field. Then from there, the whole situation escalated. Players started grabbing other players’ jerseys, words were exchanged belligerently as well. As things began to heat up, Dontre Wilsons’ helmet was ripped right off of his head my Michigan’s Royce Jenkins-Stone. At this point, Wilson retaliated by punching Michigan’s Delano Hill right is the helmet. That retaliation would come back to haunt Wilson. In all of the commotion, one of OSU’s linemen, Marcus Hall made his way onto the field from the sidelines to get involved. In doing this, he found himself in the middle of the fight and started defending his Buckeyes teammates as well. Marcus Hall then proceeded to exchange a few choice words with Michigan’s Keith Heitzman, and then punch him in the helmet as well before being pulled away from the scrum. The situation had developed into an all-out field brawl.

After all the players were separated and returned to their respective sidelines, the referees had sorted everything out. Once the referee’s conference on the field was finished, there were three players ejected. The head referee announced to the fans in The Big House and national television, that Michigan’s Royce Jenkins-Stone, and OSU’s Dontre Wilson and Marcus Hall had been sidelined for the rest of that day’s game. Ohio State’s Marcus Hall took it the hardest, as he threw his helmet and kicked the bench in frustration, then flipped off the crowd as he headed down the tunnel–a classless move.

 It is understood that rivalries are a part of any sport, and they bring more entertainment to the sports world. However, there’s a line that must be drawn somewhere in the middle of all rivalries.  Each team must have mutual respect for their opponents. And if the respect doesn’t exist, then players should have enough wherewithal to hold their tempers. Wilson didn’t have the right to go after the man who tackled him in the first place. If he didn’t like the hit, so what? He should’ve kept his head and moved on and played the next three quarters.

Instead, his actions got him ejected. As for Jenkins-Stone, he had no right to rip off Wilson’s helmet. That’s crossing a huge line right there. Finally, OSU’s Marcus Hall made himself look like a fool the way he acted after he got ejected. Go crazy behind closed doors in the locker room. Don’t put on a show for everyone else to see.

This incident presents an important commentary on sportsmanship, or the lack of it, that is beginning to be seen in many collegiate and professional sports. All in all, the NCAA should enforce more rules on situations like this, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a decent amount of punishment doled out either. While it’s entertaining, it’s also a disgrace to be seen on national television.