Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the editor: Comparison of Jon Waters’, Woody Hayes’ dismissals is flawed

Letter to the editor: Comparison of Jon Waters’, Woody Hayes’ dismissals is flawed

Letter to the editor:

Archie Griffin’s “Tradition and Change” article in the Ohio State Alumni Magazine September/October 2014 issue includes a comparison between the firing of former OSU Marching Band Director Jon Waters and the firing of Woody Hayes. It has been reported that Archie Griffin also used this analogy in a meeting with Marching Band members and parents.

I have been a fan of Mr. Griffin since 1979 when he came to speak at my school, Ridgeview Junior High School in the Columbus Public School system. Archie is an eloquent speaker and honorable person. I appreciate the commiseration, empathy and finding common ground, but this comparison is flawed.

When Woody was fired, the university didn’t issue a 23-page report with a roughly-75-page appendix based on 2 percent of players, asserting that a “violent culture” existed in the football program. It didn’t state that Woody knew or should have known this was occurring, and did nothing to prevent it. It didn’t ignore documented evidence of actions taken and policies implemented to address isolated instances.

When Earl Bruce was fired, the university simply said multiple years of a 9-3 record is not what we’re looking for out of this program. It didn’t further damage Earl’s reputation by publicly releasing transcripts of locker room humor from six years before he became head coach.

When Jim O’Brien was fired, the university didn’t commission an outside investigation with a student survey containing inappropriate personal questions, seeking to find additional wrongdoing within the basketball program.

When Jim Tressel resigned, a few players were named for their involvement in an improper benefits scandal, but the university president did not appear on YouTube to publicly accuse the entire team and thousands of alumni football players, of a systemic culture of violating NCAA regulations.

Each of these absurd responses, which thankfully did not occur in past high-profile firings or resignations, have since July 24, been similarly undertaken by OSU in regard to the marching band. These actions have been documented by multiple media outlets, including The Lantern and the analysis report on TBDBITL Alumni Club’s website. With the Sept. 11 statement from the U.S. Department of Education, it is now clear that these actions, the manufactured report and media circus were the intentional chosen methods to get out from under federal investigation. The end does not justify the means.

The actions of the administration toward the marching band, its current and former members and staff are uniquely disturbing in OSU history, and set dangerous precedent. Which student organization is next? This has greatly damaged the reputation of OSU and, as a taxpayer of the State of Ohio and alumnus who values the prestige which a degree from this institution formerly conferred, I am deeply concerned.

Stephen Tuhela-Reuning 

B.S. in electrical engineering 1990, M.S. in electrical engineering 1991

OSUMB 1985-89, F-Row assistant squad leader 1989



  1. Fantastic letter!

  2. This is wonderfully written. Well said.

    Jessi M
    OSU Alumna 2011

  3. Wonderful letter that summarizes how OSU went to great lengths to smear Jon as well as current and former band members. It’s overkill as is the cost of the Montgomery investigation. We can only hope the pending report reflects the good that was undoubtedly shared by the many alums tho I doubt OSU would want its dollars spent that way.

  4. It should also be stated as clear as possible…

    Woody Hayes punched a student athlete on national TV. Jon Waters has only helped, protected, and inspired students.

    Archie’s comparison is upsetting and unacceptable.

    There are countless examples provided of how Jon Waters properly responded to any reports of misbehaving, or even harassment/assault; and there is a never ending stream of testimonials of how Jon Waters was educating, inspiring and changing the culture of the band for the better.

  5. Thank you for having the fortitude to challenge an at fault OSU icon. Truly this is of great integrity unlike that of any of the OSU reports.

  6. Excellent letter! The similarities in the two situations ate minimal: they both worked for OSU and both got fired. Beyond that, their situations are completely different! Woody made a mistake and did publicly did something clearly wrong. Jon did everything right and attracted positive notoriety for both the band and the university!

  7. This is an excellent letter and entirely debunks Archie Griffin’s flawed history re-write. Looks to me that our beloved Archie Griffin is wishing to set himself up toward retirement on the wrong side of history.

    OSU Graduate BS Finance 1985

  8. Spot on. I used to admire Mr. Griffin so…..not any more. Let’s return the Alumni Assoc. to what it was created for: an autonomous organization that supports and lifts up the alumni of our great university. Not another mouthpiece, echo chamber for the corporate interests of a few.

  9. Fantastic. You’ve summed it up well! Our Honor defend.
    OSU BSN 1997, MPH 2002

  10. The inept firing of the Ohio State University Marching Band Director Jon Waters demonstrates how poorly this once-great university is being led by the current, and hopefully short-lived, reign of president Drake.

  11. Great letter. You have written exacting what I had thought after reading Archie’s letter.

    I loved Woody. Had the opportunity to talk with him several times both as a student and years after I graduated. But he was wrong that night in Florida and fired.

    Jon Waters on the other hand had done nothing to deserve what he got. In fact Jon was probably the best director the students in the band have had in years. He is truly an honorable man with their best interests at heart.

  12. Excellent points. OSU needs to do some back pedaling and correct their errors-Jon Waters should be back on the ladder by Saturday.

  13. Good points. One thing all of those previous firings have in common: they didn’t come at the hands of the “warm-and-cuddly” President Drake.

  14. Do you know what the difference is? None of those other high-profile firings were part of a deal with the Department of Education. None of those other firings served to protect OSU’s 400 million (more or less) in federal funding that was in jeopardy if they didn’t get rid of the DoE investigation. None of those other firings hid other potential scandals that might have been found in the more than 80 other cases that the DoE chose to ignore, in exchange for OSU’s very public firing of Jon Waters.

    The Department of Education probably wanted a really big high-profile win, and OSU needed the DoE investigation to be done. I’d hardly be surprised if Drake’s youtube video was part of the DoE’s deal to end the Title IX investigation.

    Here’s the kicker: I’m fairly well convinced that OSU knew full well when they went public against Waters that in fact they had no real case, but did it anyway to complete this deal with the DoE. If that’s so, it means that people at OSU committed fraud to secure their 400 million dollar federal budget. That could mean prison. It could also mean that some lucky whistleblower within OSU could escape this possible prosecution, bring a qui-tam fraud suit against OSU, and make a boatload of money instead of going to prison.

  15. …but admittedly, I did have it coming.

  16. Don't Let Up Lantern

    Excellent letter sir. You earned your Buckeye leaves this week!! One other thing: OSUAA was once its own 501(c) organization. Prior to OSU absorbing OSUAA that letter would have never been authored by a sitting Alumni Association executive. Archie is doing what he’s told by his overlords: the OSU administration, i.e., the same people who are now his bosses and sign his paycheck. The whole thing reeks of command-and-control power plays, and heavy handedness.

  17. Woody Hayes loved Ohio State.He protected his players.He did his best and most influential work after his dismissal.He died one of the most respected people ever associated with Ohio State.Jon Waters feels the same way toward the university and his players.This is where the comparison stops.Archie and the Alumni Association are on the wrong side of a horrible,unjust,arrogant administrative decision.It should not take multiple investigations,multiple PR firms and multiple thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend a correct decision.My alma mater has been damaged…Mr Waters and the band members have been hurt by this no win situation.Archie,I am ashamed of you…you have become a company man.I hardly knew you.

  18. Great letter. I too am very disappointed in Archie. Apparently no longer the power runner, he has become the water boy for Drake. If this goes to trial, there will be one similarity with Jim O’Brien; Jon will be awarded millions! My hope is the university will come to its senses and give Jon his job back. Otherwise, the discovery process should be very interesting and embarrassing for Drake, et al. Stay tuned.

  19. Meanwhile, the Ohio Union Activities Board is urging all Ohio State students to go check out Chance the Rapper at the LC Pavillion Oct. 27th. Those who may be offended by vulgar language, sexual innuendo towards women, drug advocacy, homophobic remarks, etc. may want to sit this one out. See related article this issue of the lantern. Drake, you there bro?

  20. Our first mistake is in thinking Dr. Drake has any real power. He is merely a figurehead. The BoT is pulling all of the strings.

    I am not sure if I am out of line here, but I think everyone agrees that whatever is found that allegedly occurred in the band activities, it has been going on for quite some time. Waters was there for only 18 months, right? Why hasn’t anyone asked the question about Jon Woods? How long was he band director? Shouldn’t his pension be suspended pending outcome of all of the investigations? Are there statute of limitations on things like this? What about the student squad leaders that were found to either be directly involved or turned a blind eye? Isn’t there an academic code of conduct? Why are the students not being suspended?

    Don’t get me wrong, I was in the band in high school. Everything that was outlined in the report happened in my band in high school. Why doesn’t Betty investigate that. Thing is, those were 160 of my closest friends and confidants.

  21. Your Mom – Your questions have been answered. Dr. Droste, Dr. Woods, and the vast majority of the individual members of the OSUMB and TBDBITL Alumni are honorable men and women. The Glaros report mentions (I won’t call it “documented” because that suggests at least a modicum of accuracy) outlier behavior that was dealt with as swiftly as possible. It also mentions a lot that is just plain false. For a documented report surf to bandtruth.org or http://www.westandwithjonwaters.com/.

  22. Excellent letter.

    I’m not an OSU alumna, so I’m surprised to read in the comments that OSUAA is not an independent organization from OSU. Is this true?!? Even if so, it doesn’t fully explain why Archie would allow his reputation to be tarnished by agreeing to spew out such nonsense. Others of high character (and with far less money to their names) have stood up and refused to be used-and-abused by their bosses, even at the risk of being fired.

    In fact, think about what might have happened if Archie had told the bosses, “No, I’m not going to be a party to your dirty business. Make your own statements about Woody Hayes. He’d turn over in the grave if he read what you want me to write.” Suppose they fired Archie for insubordination. Can you imagine the uproar over that?

  23. OSUMB alumni galv

    I was there in the Jacksonville standing on a chair from my spot in the OSUMB watching as Woody lost control with the Clemson player. I am STILL HERE as an OSUMB alumna watching my alma matter throw a fine person (Jon Waters) and the band under the Title IX bus that is careening out of control. There is NO COMPARISON. One was done in agpnger without self-control, while the other was done underhandedly in an effort to contol a federal investigation. I think it is pretty clear which is which!

  24. Then again, there was not a Title IX complaint leveled against Woody that the University was required to respond to. C’mon–he only slugged ONE student. Oh, and one reporter. And tore up some yard markers. What the what? They must have had it in for him. What about all those games when Woody didn’t slug ANYBODY?

  25. I didn’t see this letter until Oct 26 so my comments are not timely. However, I certainly agree with all the points in the letter. I will add that I am particularly disturbed that Archie Griffin in his position as President of the Alumni Association chose to side with the Administration by issuing a gag order to Chapter Presidents. Finally, coach Hayes would have been severely disappointed with such an intellectually dishonest comparison.

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