Mailbox: A vote to keep Chris Holtmann; and why do refs hate everything about Ohio?
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On Ohio State basketball
To Brian: Stay with Chris Holtmann, university and fans. He's driving a proven 6-year-old sports car (20+ wins in five of those seasons) that at times can zoom past other schools, finely tuned. But just as often, it seems, a connection slips and the performance is sluggish. Add to it the weight of a demanding schedule in typical conference play. He got us to the Big Dance four times (no tournament in 2020). Do you want to start over? Holtmann is not Matta. Things are different. The pool of coaching experience is much less now. He's got his own energy, integrity and style that continues to bear fruit - results we may not see on the court, since coaching ultimately builds character and ideally, leaders. But that sports car will come out ahead in years to come, better equipped - a skilled driver leading his crew - whatever their spot in the pack.
Larry Cheek, Dublin
To Larry: The university has spoken, as athletic director Gene Smith told our Adam Jardy that Holtmann is "our coach of the future." We'll see what the fans have to say if the team's misery continues.
On officiating bias
To the editor: I know referees are only human and miss calls, but an Ohio conspiracy of bad calls is much too commonplace. They missed the blatant foul against Buckeye Lebron which caused the Lakers to lose a game. They missed numerous calls against Georgia which would've given the football Buckeyes a shot at the title. And they missed too many calls that would have allowed the Bengals to beat the Chiefs. Ohio has been homered three times too many. Either the referees should be neutral or just stay off the field and let the games begin.
Michael N. Oser, Columbus
To the editor: After the game, the Cincinnati mayor and some Bengals apologized for their remarks. Did the NFL say anything about the ridiculous officiating in the AFC championship game?
Bob Stevenson, Columbus
On Ohio State football
To Brian: Looking over the results of football recruiting, the list I saw had 39 five-star players available, and the 14 Big Ten schools pulled in a grand total of one (by OSU). 'Bama had nine while the SEC had 21 total. The Big 12 had seven, but they'll all be in the SEC soon. Even the Pac-12 got six and the ACC four. Not good.
Dennis Singleton, Dayton
To Dennis: I wouldn't get too worked up about star ratings. After all, Tate Martell was a can't-miss five-star QB.
On Ohio State women's sports
To the editor: Some of the best Buckeye athletes are being sold short. The highly ranked women's basketball team played Michigan on New Year's Eve in the Covelli Center. Tickets sold out and were only available at exorbitant prices online, and many fans got shut out. Then they played No. 10 Iowa in the “sold-out” Schott and tickets were again only available at prices near $100. Yet, the upper tier was not opened for that big matchup.
Meanwhile, the No. 1-ranked defending national champion women’s hockey team gets stuck in the OSU Ice Rink with a capacity around 500. For more games than not, the crowd is cut off and fans are left out in the cold. It reached the point of ridiculousness this weekend when they played Minnesota State twice. The first game was a packed house (I was in it!), and I’m pretty sure they had to close admissions.
Then they advertised an open skate for kids after Saturday’s game. My wife and I arrived at 2:35 for the 3 p.m. game and weren’t allowed in. As we walked away, families with kids excitedly anticipating the game and the skating session with players were still approaching the arena. One person online said they drove from Dayton for the game and couldn’t get in at 2:30. They said they saw dozens of kids crying because they couldn’t attend.
Don’t the best teams in Columbus deserve to be seen by their fans? Keep the women's basketball team at the bigger arena and use the whole place. Look at scheduling women’s hockey at the Schott. But, at the very least, get creative when women’s hockey is going to have overflow crowds. Maybe open up St. John and install closed-circuit TV so people who have traveled a distance can still see the game. In such a scenario, kids watching at St. John could also take part in the skating afterward.
Why is the OSU athletic department thinking small when it comes to women's basketball and hockey?
Dear sports editor: The latest big sports revelation by Tom Brady that there is holding at the line of scrimmage at every play is old news. Anyone who has eyes can see that. It’s been that way for years in both pro and college football. It's kind of like wondering if the sun will come up tomorrow. However, another glaring and obvious revelation in sports is in basketball where there is ubiquitous palming, or carrying, of the ball, especially when players do cross-over dribbles. They might as well put a handle on the ball and just carry it around. It’s ridiculous and very obvious, especially on the slow-motion replays. It’s almost never called by the referees. It has drastically changed the way the game of basketball is played. When is some big-name basketball player going to make this “new revelation” that everyone already knows?Chet Ridenour, Worthington
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Ohio State football coaches' bonuses in wake of Michigan loss adds to the pain
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Support for Chris Holtmann; and why do refs hate Ohio?: Letters