The coronation of the 2012 Ohio State football team is complete.
Fans filled large portions of St. John Arena’s lower bowl on Friday night as the undefeated and Big Ten Conference Leaders Division champion Buckeyes were honored. The team received conventional tributes such as applause from home fans, praise from its coach and a trophy, as well as a distinctive honor from Columbus mayor Michael Coleman.
Coleman, the first dignitary to speak at the event, announced that he would name a street after the 2012 Buckeyes – “12-0 Road.” The precise street that will be named for the team has not been decided yet, but when it is, Coleman said that OSU coach Urban Meyer will help erect the sign.
“These special men deserve special recognition,” Coleman said during his remarks from the stage assembled on the arena’s event level. “I thought about the powers I have as mayor. And so I said, ‘you know what? I’m going to name a street after this team.'”
OSU president E. Gordon Gee congratulated the team before Meyer took to the stage and told stories of the team’s recently concluded campaign.
“This is the largest, most complex, most interesting, most important university in America, and we have the best football team in America,” Gee said. “And we have the best coaching staff in America.”
Then, Meyer introduced members of the senior class one by one.
Buckeyes linebacker Storm Klein, once dismissed from the team for domestic violence and assault charges, received warm applause from fans in attendance. Tight end Jake Stoneburner was removed from scholarship with the team after being arrested for obstructing official business on June 2, and fans also received him warmly.
Punter Ben Buchanan might have had the loudest applause, but that changed when Zach Boren, who switched from fullback to linebacker midseason, received a standing ovation upon being introduced. Linebacker John Simon, who did not play in the season-ending win against Michigan on Nov. 24, followed Boren, and he too received a standing ovation.
Meyer lauded member of the senior class for staying with his program despite sanctions levied against the program by the NCAA on Dec. 22.
“Every one of these young men in this senior class could have left,” Meyer said. “I wasn’t quite sure why they stuck around. I recruited them really hard becauase I really didn’t know them and I wanted them back… there’s pretty good players in that class, but I didn’t really understand why they stayed.
“Throughout our offseason, spring practice and summer and got ready to go play, I figured it out real quick. It’s because this will go down as one of the great senior classes in Ohio State University history.”
Former OSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith presented the 2012 team’s captains with the Big Ten Conference’s Leaders Division championship trophy. The night’s festivities ended after the Ohio State University Marching Band’s playing of “Carmen Ohio.”