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Apathy, not anger, YSU’s enemy

Published: Thu, November 28, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

SEE ALSO: YSU Football report card

It costs between $25 and $40 to buy a pitchfork at Lowe’s. A torch will run you between $5-$10, although you could easily make one with a stick, a rag, some gasoline and a match.

So, if you’re planning to storm the Ice Castle and demand Eric Wolford’s head, figure on at least $30. Also, the football offices are on the south end of Fifth Avenue, so park accordingly.

Your other option is to stay home and take to the Internet, filling the comments section of a Vindy.com story or a chat room. You could even write a good old fashioned letter to the editor.

Any of these options is better than what most people will do: nothing.

Because if Saturday’s game against South Dakota State taught us anything, it’s this: Most people in Youngstown just don’t care.

And that’s much scarier than any angry mob.

Youngstown State football has gone from Must-See to musty, with an increasingly older fan base longing for a return to the Tressel years while most people stay home and watch Ohio State crush the Big Ten’s sacrificial lambs.

“What happens is you develop apathy in the community,” said YSU radio analyst Chris Sammarone, who played in three straight I-AA national title games in the early 1990s. “If they go, they go. If they have something better to do, they’ll go do it.

“When I was playing, it was on the calendar. It took precedence over Ohio State and anything else going on. The expectation was we would win and then how far in the playoffs were we going to go?”

This is not all Wolford’s fault. It started under Jon Heacock. But when Wolford arrived in 2009, fresh out of a one-year stint in the big, bad SEC, he promised to change it. He promised to shake things up, to upgrade the talent, hold players more accountable, get back to winning championships.

Then he went 3-8. And over the next three years, his program’s improvement couldn’t keep up with his mouth. He set the high jump bar at 7 feet, then bragged about a 6-foot jump, then wondered why the fans (and the playoff committee) weren’t impressed.

This year was supposed to be different — and for a while, it was. YSU started 8-1. The Penguins entered the final stretch needing just one win. ESPN’s “College GameDay” was showing interest.

And then? Well, you know what happened next.

If you ask YSU’s most passionate fans what they’d like to see happen, they’ll say one of three things:

  1. Fire Wolford.
  2. Fire Wolford and athletic director Ron Strollo.
  3. Fire Wolford and athletic director Ron Strollo and bring back Jim Tressel.

But here’s the problem. Tressel is what I call a “two-comma coach,” which means when you get to the salary page on his contract, you’d better have two commas. YSU can’t even afford to buy out the last year of its one-comma coach, who is due $250,000.

So, if you want YSU to serve you his head, you’re going to need to withdraw a little more than $30. Or, as one of the few remaining die-hards, you could just use that money to buy tickets for next year.

I hear good seats are still available.

Joe Scalzo covers YSU athletics for The Vindicator. Write to him at scalzo@vindy.com or follow him on Twitter @JoeScalzo1.


1PeteGuin(7 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Joe, Agreed! I don't think YSU has the funds to buy Wolford out so we're looking at one more year of heartache. But, then again, maybe he'll surprise us by losing his arrogance, building a defense that doesn't give up 12 yards on 3rd and 4, and go steaming deep into the playoffs. In the meantime, us old timers will have plenty of room to stretch out in the half empty stadium with our peanuts and popcorn! Happy Thanksgiving. Go 'Guins!!

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2jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Looks like Scalzo is suffering from "buyers remorse".....seem to remember his "arrival of Wolford" columns heralding the "rebirth of the playoff culture" etc. Must be nice to be a sports writer.....

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3Penguinz(18 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Winning cures all. It cures apathy and fills seats in a hurry. Does the current head coach or staff for that matter have the intelligence to win big games, not just the cream puffs?

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4chelley11(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

This post is just stupid.

This is ignorant, rude, and misinformed.

You think he isn't doing his job because the team didn't win toward the end... how is the Vindicator selling? I know nobody in my neighborhood buys it anymore, so are you doing your job?

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5Themanwiththeplan(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

"Youngstown State football has gone from Must-See to musty, with an increasingly older fan base longing for a return to the Tressel years while most people stay home and watch Ohio State crush the Big Ten’s sacrificial lambs."

--First off Joe, don't you think this started before Coach Wolford? They went to the playoffs one time under John Heacock in NINE years.

--Second, a lot of people became connected to Ohio State when Jim Tressel went.

--Thirdly, YSU has always had an older fan base due to the amount of commuters that go to YSU. It has never been a predominantly youthful fan base

Next up.... Is about your bashing of Wolford's expectations...

First, would you rather have a guy who doesn't say boo for nine years and goes to the playoffs once, or would you rather have a guy truly dedicated to turning it around and sometimes giving unrealistic expectations? I'd rather have the guy all fired up, that tells me he's passionate. That tells me, he's all in.

Second, you have to look at recruiting restrictions in Ohio opposed to teams like NDSU and SDSU. Anyone who is good in North Dakota, is going to NDSU, if they aren't good enough to go bigger. Same thing goes for SDSU. Also, NDSU pulls a ton of recruits from the twin cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul)... See MARCUS WILLIAMS. See... In Ohio, it's different.

Mac Schools
1. Kent
2. Akron
3. Bowling Green
4. Ohio U
5. Toledo
6. Miami

Other Schools
1. Ohio State
2. Cinci
3. Dayton
4. Mount Union (Biggest powerhouse in D3 in the country 40 minutes away)
5. Not to mention all the D2 schools one step down from the FCS level

The bottom line is this: THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER JIM TRESSEL (not to mention this conference is way tougher than the one Tress coached in). You and the Youngstown Community have to realize this. Realize that Wolford has improved his record every single year under these recruiting circumstances. But, you will never write anything about this side of the equation, because it doesn't create controversy and isn't grounded in negativity.

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