The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio lawmaker pitches University of Alabama for new license plate

- Jessie Balmert

COLUMBUS – Months after the Crimson Tide rolled Ohio State University’s Buckeyes in the national championsh­ip, an Ohio lawmaker wants to create a new University of Alabama license plate.

Rep. Adam Bird, Rnew Richmond, proposed creating a new license plate for University of Alabama alumni, students and fans in honor of his father, who played football there for legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

“I grew up in Ohio and I am forever a fan of Ohio State football. I rooted for

OSU this past year in the national championsh­ip game,” Bird told lawmakers Tuesday. “But I am also forever grateful for the educationa­l opportunit­y that was afforded my father by the University of Alabama and the change that it made in the lives of my family.”

If approved, the new license plate would cost an additional $40. Of that, $30 would go toward scholarshi­ps benefiting Ohio students attending the University of Alabama.

Ohio has just one other license plate for an out-of-state university: the University of Notre Dame. But if you think the proposal has no shot in the Buckeye State, think again.

“I will always remain a Buckeye fan, but if anybody stands in the way of this legislatio­n, it will not be me,” said Rep. Michael Sheehy, D-toledo, whose son received his master’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Two former lawmakers and Crimson Tide alumni, Republican Rep. Margy Conditt, of Liberty Township, and Democratic Rep. John Rogers, of Mentor-onthe-lake, back the proposal.

That didn’t stop fellow lawmakers from testing Bird’s allegiance to the home team.

“This isn’t exactly a question. It’s more of a statement but it will require a response from you,” said Rep. Jeff Lare, R-violet Township. “O-H.”

“I-O,” Bird replied before offering to sing the Ohio State University fight song.

It could be worse for Ohio State fans. No lawmaker has dared to introduce a license plate honoring the University of Michigan.

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