Ohio State president complains about rioting
Later softens remarks on gameday riots
COLUMBUS, Ohio— A former Ohio State University president who cracked down on game-day behavior during her tenure at the school lambasted Buckeyes fans in a recent job interview, saying they looked for any excuse to riot.
“When you win a game, you riot. When you lose a game, you riot. When spring comes, you riot. African-American Heritage Festival weekend, you riot,” Karen Holbrook said last week during a videotaped interview for the president’s job at Florida Gulf Coast University.
She told officials there that she confronted a culture of rioting when she arrived at Ohio State in 2002 and that she witnessed people doing “disgusting things, unbelievable things” on a videotape she ordered made after the Ohio State-Michigan game that year.
“They think it’s fun to flip cars, to really have absolute drunken orgies. ... I don’t want to be at a place that has this kind of culture as a norm,” she said.
After her comments, released by the Florida university, got back to Ohio and the 52,000student university, she softened her tone, noting that her negative remarks represented five minutes out of 10 hours of talks with officials of the Florida school, much of which focused on Ohio State’s positives.
“People have ignored every other wonderful thing about a great institution that I bragged about, and that is what concerns me,” Holbrook said Thursday from her Florida home.
Holbrook said she was barraged with complaints after she led a crackdown on tailgating and game-day behavior after 2002 riots made national news.
“They said, ‘You’re a goodie two-shoes. You don’t understand what it is to be a Buckeye,’” she said.
Holbrook retired in June with a $250,000 exit bonus, then applied for the Florida Gulf Coast job this month. Holbrook later withdrew from consideration for the Florida job.