Sunday, January 5, 2003

Celebration continues for Buckeyes' fans



By Charley Gillespie
The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The majority of Ohio State's players didn't fly back to Columbus on Saturday night but about 250 fans still showed up to thank coach Jim Tressel for bringing home the national title.

Fans had waited for about an hour in 30-degree weather when seven buses carrying Tressel, team staff and their families arrived with a police escort. The crowd swarmed around Tressel as he stepped down, nodding and smiling as he and his wife worked their way toward the entrance to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

"Our fans are incredible," Tressel said. "We told them we were going to have a time to get together, but it might not be tonight. And there they are out in the cold anyway."

Many among the crowd said they just wanted to show their gratitude for Friday night's 31-24 double-overtime victory over No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. It gave the Buckeyes their fourth national title and first since the 1968 season, when Hayes was coach.

"I've followed the team since I was little, and this championship has been a long time coming," said 38-year-old Mike Allen of Columbus. "It was worth it coming here, just to see them and wave to them."

Only two scholarship players, backup quarterback Scott McMullen and reserve defensive back Chris Conwell, took the charter flight. Several walk-ons were also on the flight. NCAA rules permit schools to give players the cash equivalent of coach airfare. Players may find their own way home and pocket the difference, which the vast majority did.

Meanwhile, the mad dash for Buckeyes merchandise began early Saturday. Lines snaked through the aisles of the team store at Ohio State's Schottenstein Center, and people were banging on the windows before it opened, clerk Kyle Precht said.

"It took about 40 minutes to sell out," he said. "I saw someone who had 12 T-shirts, and she didn't even know what sizes they were. She was just grabbing them to get them."

The party started soon after Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey's fourth-down pass fell incomplete about 12:15 a.m. EST. But the celebrations were in sharp contrast to the riots, rock-throwing and fires that broke out after the Nov. 23 home win over Michigan. More than 60 people, including 16 students, were arrested then.

Columbus police had made 20 misdemeanor arrests by early Saturday morning, department spokesman Sgt. Brent Mull said.

"Our message got out as far as zero tolerance, and that we would be making mass arrests," Mull said. "People who were celebrating chose not to act in a disorderly manner."

Police also were helped by temperatures in the 20s and the mostly empty campus during winter break, Mull said. Classes resume Monday.

Plans for a university celebration were under way, Ohio State officials said. City officials will announce their plans on Monday, said Mike Brown, spokesman for Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.




OHIO STATE: NATIONAL CHAMPS
Buckeyes' togetherness prevails
OSU fans forgo sleep to seek souvenirs
Ohio State on Coke cans
Buckeyes-Hurricanes title game a classic
At moment of truth, 'Canes blinked
Battered 'Canes reeling from agonizing loss
Celebration continues for Buckeyes' fans
Fiesta Bowl MVP missed team bus
Knee injury will keep McGahee a Hurricane
Fiesta Bowl highest-rated BCS title game
Ref says he just wanted to be right
Buckeyes want to repeat
Bucks 2002 season recap
Grossman decides to turn pro

XAVIER
No. 1 Alabama 65, No. 19 Xavier 58
Shelton's hot hand burns Musketeers

UC BEARCATS
For Land, success is in the battle

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UK 83, Ohio 75
Three locals relish homecoming
Cusick brings her leadership to RedHawks
Miami 71, Central Michigan 62
Dayton 92, No. 13 Marquette 85 OT
No. 17 Indiana 70, Charlotte 60
No. 24 Louisville 72, Ohio State 64 OT
Top 25: Valpo tries, but Notre Dame survives
How the Top 25 fared, scores
UC women win school-record 16th straight at home

BENGALS
Bengals want miracle man on sidelines
Bengals interview Mularkey

NFL PLAYOFFS
Jets 41, Colts 0
Irsay should send Polian packing
No reason Jets can't win it all
Falcons 27, Packers 7
Browns-Steelers renew rivalry
Fassel hopes Giants' momentum continues in playoffs
Rolling Giants invade Candlestick
Colts' Harrison unanimous All-Pro

REDS
Eyeing budget, Reds shop for free agents
Reds Q&A

BASEBALL
Sandberg awaiting Hall's call
Baseball free agent signings

PREP SPORTS
Gardens, GCL reach deal for conference games
Ohio boys: Lakota tops Tigers
Ohio girls: Harrison springs upset
Ky. Boys: Lorenzen powers Scott past Holy Cross
Ky. Girls: Holy Cross holds off Allen County
Strawberry's son slows LeBron
Swimming: Centerville backs up the hype
Prep sports results

HOCKEY
Another victim of the Ice Age
Hockey available to kids of every age, ability level
Cyclones win 5th straight on road

TRISTATE SPOTLIGHT
Revival in full swing at Mount St. Joseph
Champali prevails in Prevue
Ali Center will trace boxer's life
Enquirer Page Two power rankings
Sports on TV