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Jon Waters initially considered for post, ex-committee member says

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters directs the alumni band during a Sept. 13 football game against Kent State. Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern Reporter

Former OSU Marching Band director Jonathan Waters directs the alumni band during a Sept. 13 football game against Kent State.
Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern Reporter

A former member of the search committee tasked with finding a new director for the Ohio State Marching Band says the band’s former director, Jonathan Waters, was initially considered after he reapplied in January.

The search committee took Waters’ application seriously but kept it on the back burner because of his on-going legal battle with OSU, said Lindsay Conkel, a former member of the search committee and a fifth-year in architecture.

“From my understanding, he was considered for a very long time,” Conkel said. “When we got to narrowing down the list, all of a sudden, Jon’s name was no longer on this list and there was really no reason.”

Conkel said it seemed OSU’s administration wouldn’t consider re-hiring Waters after the search committee brought up the possibility.

She said a similar situation unfolded after Chris Hoch, the band’s assistant director, applied and was initially toward the top of the list.

“The committee started focusing on other people and there was speculation that employees of the university went to Chris Hoch and told him that he was no longer being considered for the position,” Conkel said.

Conkel, who stepped down from the search committee Friday via an email to the marching band and search committee, said she felt the committee’s direction was predetermined. She was one of two band members on the search committee.

“I have not one, but more than one person come to me and tell me what’s about to happen in the search committee before we’ve even met, and then watching those speculations play out, I mean red flags everywhere,” Conkel said. “It makes me think that upper administration could potentially be running this process.”

When asked to respond, OSU spokesman Chris Davey said he couldn’t comment on the details of the director search process in order to ensure it proceed unimpeded — something he’s maintained throughout the search.

Conkel said she felt there was a lack of transparency and communication between the university and the committee. She said she often learned information about the search from the media, rather than from OSU.

In one instance, Conkel said local news informed her that Corey Spurlin, a potential candidate from Auburn University, had withdrawn his name from the search process.

Spurlin, associate director of bands, marching band director and associate professor of music at Auburn University, visited OSU earlier this month to meet with band members and faculty.

Conkel said she didn’t know Spurlin was set to visit OSU until she received an email from associate director Scott Jones that was also sent to the rest of the band.

“These decisions being made are done by few people and not by the entire group. I no longer feel comfortable placing my name of decisions that I have no part in,” Conkel’s resignation email said.

Another finalist, Douglas Henderson, associate director of bands and director of the Cowboy Marching Band at Oklahoma State University, is set to visit campus Friday and Saturday.

OSU fired the band’s previous director, Jonathan Waters, in July after a university investigation found the band contained a sexualized culture. Waters has since sued the university for $1 million in damages and reinstatement.

For more on this story, watch the video below.




  1. Exactly what most of us have thought all along. This process is simply being run from Bricker Hall, and the search committee is just window dressing. Disgusting.

  2. Congrats to Lindsay for distancing herself from the sham that is the OSU administration and refusing to be part of the curtain that the wizard hides behind while pulling the strings.

  3. Done with Ohio State

    Because of this entire debacle I’m done with Ohio State. My child has also picked a different school for the fall and applying to Ohio State wasn’t even a consideration. Drake and crew are nauseating and the charades they pull are predictable.

  4. Prior Proud Buckeye

    Thanks to Lindsay Conkel. Others on the committee may feel the same way,but have other priorities that trump doing what is right for the band to have the best possible person directing it. Sadly personal loss sometimes trumps doing what is right.

  5. Kudos to Lindsay for realizing that she was being used and refusing to go along with it.
    Maybe the university will change it’s tune now that Mr. Water’s lawsuit will be proceeding to Court, but they have not shown themselves to be very intelligent to date, so I have my doubts.

  6. Glad to see that Lindsay has integrity. She confirmed what we all suspected. The University could do itself a big favor by hiring Jon Waters. He is the best candidate they will find. They should do the right thing. It’s not too late.

  7. I do not have an opinion one way or the other regarding the next director of the OSU Marching Band. However, I do admire Lindsay’s courage in stepping away from the hiring process if she feels it lacks integrity. This world would be a much better place for all of us if more people possessed honesty and integrity.

  8. I have been a member of the Presidents Club for 35 years. My BSBA from tOSU has been a source of pride. Now I am embarrassed by my alma mater. I’m finished. There is no integrity or common sense anymore. I understand and appreciate Lindsay’s position. Thank you Lindsay.

  9. Lindsay just did what no one in USG has had the guts to do for years, call the administration out on their BS. And openly for all to see.
    Many, many thanks for this great public service Lindsay!

  10. Wow, imagine that. A few that are pulling the strings and the rest are suppose to fall in-line like good little puppets. Why even form a committee??? Disgusting Ohio State. Reinforces why I will no longer donate to my alma mater until there is an overhaul in our leadership.

    Bring back Jonathan Waters!!!

  11. Welcome to THE Battelle Wexner University.
    …thanks to those merry men we have incompetence starting with the President.

    What the debacle in TCO in going back 3 years and issues in the Hospital. …if only half the truth be know.

    If only more leaders would step down starting with the President and 3/4 of the self-serving Trustees.

  12. Well, he should be reconsidered. The performances under him were terrific, reflecting the long legacy of excellence that Ohioans revere. Enough of this extraneous bologna of judging coaches, band directors and others on the behavior of students. Are art professors fired for having life drawing nude models? Believe me, there were a lot of snickers over that! In my day, young people were solely responsible for their own actions. If it was considered egregious according to the student code of conduct by the student government, they were expelled. Neither parents or any adult can be with young people 24 hours a day in order to make them paragons of morality, especially in a day when sexual images are everywhere, and because of it, they think what they’re doing is, albeit a little raunchy, just what everybody else is doing. Miley Cyrus’ nasty tongue, models in all states of undress in crude poses on the front pages of every major newspaper outlet, the exchange of bedroom selfies, and a whole lot more. If the president thinks he’s going to change all this by making an example of Jon Waters, forget it.

  13. Doesn’t The Lantern practice journalism? In the post-Rolling Stone UVa era, an inflammatory story makes no mention of any efffort to corroborate the story of one former committee member who makes her own bias quite clear. She may be correct, or not. I am not in a position to tell. But The Lantern has responsibilities to its readers and the OSU community. It has failed us.

  14. Bring back Jonathan Waters and expell those responsible for this charade.

  15. Hey Former Employee,
    What is the TCO debacle?

    What was going on with the medical center?

    Please elaborate.

  16. Anonymous – Why don’t you go and watch her interview on LanternTV? Then you can hear the story in her words, so that you can’t blame any journalists for telling you something you don’t want to hear.
    And if its “corroboration” you are after, why don’t you go and ask Mr Glaros how he “corroborated” all those characterizations of the female Band members and others that he distorted in his “Report” for the benefit of the administration?

  17. This is a carbon copy of the “search” conducted at the University of Oklahoma, when a “friend” of a member of the Board of Regents was inserted into the job, in spite of being wholly and completely unqualified (an applied percussion major ??). It took over a year, and finally, full-page ads being taken out in major regional newspapers about the “Oath of Silence” he forced on the band members, before President David Boren acted quickly (to save his own bacon) and tossed the director, bringing back the former director (in, by the way, an administrative position in addition to directing the Pride of Oklahoma, and reportedly, a promise to be the next Dean of the OU School of Music). Many sleepless nights were had by Pride alums, watching their once-proud institution crumble before their eyes. I personally witnessed the debacle in South Bend in 2013, shortly after his hire, and was so enraged my wife had to drag me out of the HS stadium before I went down and punched someone. This is what happens when Presidents get involved in decisions such as this. It was clear when Waters got fired, and it’s even more clear now. Until the Prez gets pushed out of the way in this mess, it will only get worse.

  18. If it’s not going to be John, at least give Chris Hoch an opportunity!

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