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Ohio State sign tries to claim academic superiority over Michigan

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Urban Meyer's is trying to keep the "student" in "student-athlete" or at least using it as a recruiting tool.

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BuckeyeGrove.com's Kevin Noon snapped a shot of a sign in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center that compared the majors of Ohio State football players and those players from "The Team Up North" (Michigan).

Interpret it as you will, but Meyer is clearly trying to stress that players who come out of Ohio State do so with better degrees than those who matriculate from Michigan.

It is impressive that Ohio State has 23 players that major in the fields of business, engineering and biology, probably some of the more difficult majors on campus, and that Michigan (allegedly) has few players who major in those particular subjects.

The bulk of Michigan's players, according to the chart, are general studies majors, which isn't all that common around the country, but doesn't have the glory of a communications degree, which is Ohio State's most favored major.

Despite Ohio State's fancy sign, US News and World Report ranked Michigan the 28th-best academic institution nationally and Ohio State 55th.

Let's be honest, most of these players — on both sides — probably are looking toward a career in professional football. Some of these guys won't even graduate. And then you have the players who are committed to academics but not necessarily contributing on the field. Ohio State had two engineering majors make Academic All-Big Ten (a 3.0 GPA or better) and both are walk-ons who haven't seen the field. One of its Academic All-Big Ten honorees was kicked off the team after arrests for disorderly conduct and DUI in a three-month span.

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(Carlos Osorio/AP)

On the flip side, Michigan had two Big Ten Academic All-Americans in economics, a difficult field that wasn't mentioned on the chart, both players saw the field in 2011 and one, defensive end Will Heininger, started all 12 games last year while maintaining a 3.0 GPA as a double major in sports management and econ.

Overall, Ohio State had 10 Academic All-Big Ten honorees and Michigan had 11. Two of the Michigan players were double majors, but overall, the level of majors between the two sides was comparable.

I can appreciate Meyer's dedication to promoting Ohio State's academics. While he's playing up the rivalry, he's not just trying to sell football to his recruits. Brady Hoke probably has a similar chart at Michigan and if he didn't, he does now.

Regardless of where student-athletes goes to school, short of it being one of the elite educational institutions in the country, education is what a player makes of it. Plain and simple. As the Ohio State support site Eleven Warriors points out, multimillionaire Tom Brady was one of the greatest general studies majors to wear the maize and blue.

Similarly, Terrelle Pryor was Academic All-Big Ten for three years with an undecided major and now he makes NFL money with the Raiders.

Of course, this sign, which appeared last week and was promptly taken down once pictures of it hit the Internet, has already sparked a heated debate between Ohio State and Michigan fans and that will doubt continue here. Just waiting for Michigan fans to declare their university the Harvard of the Midwest and for Ohio State fans to point out the story about Michigan players being ushered into general studies as a "safe harbor."

But in the real world, does an Ohio State degree have more value than one from Michigan or vice versa? No. What has value is the person with the degree regardless of the university.

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Aknowledgement to BuckeyeGrove.com.
Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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