This year, Ohio State debuted a new service that allowed fans in the Horseshoe to let stadium officials know about any concerns during games via text message. Loud neighbor? Drunk neighbor? Loud, drunk neighbor? All you had to do was send a message to 69050 addressed to Brutus, the school's grotesquely deformed mascot. The service, as described on Ohio State's website, was meant to be used by fans who would "like to recognize outstanding service or ... have an issue that needs to be addressed."
Issue is a pretty broad term, though, and it turns out that Ohio State fans have all sorts of thoughts on their minds: the price of hot chocolate, the lines for the bathroom, puke needing clean up, whether Brutus is even the mascot's real name—and the band. Do not mess with Ohio State's band. Even if they've been depicted as horny and depraved. Even if they made this calendar of nearly naked male trumpet players. Buckeyes love that band. The most text messages came in during the regular season's last game, against Michigan, and most of them were angry rants demanding less canned music and more from The Best Damn Band In The Land. One person stooped so far as to threaten to watch the Browns instead. If that's not a low blow, I don't know what is.
We submitted a public records request for every text message sent to Brutus this season. You can read the full results in the documents below. From them, we pieced together a season as seen through the eyes of Brutus Buckeye—a dirge of compliments, complaints, and screeds.
This game was a clobbering, with the Buckeyes manhandling their opponent 66-0. With little worry about the score, fans decided to chat up Brutus instead. Have you ever wondered if Brutus is his real name?
Or wondered how he could be in two places at once?
Or thought Brutus should be a mascot and a score-alert service?
In its first regular-season game, the service got 25 messages, including two "go bucks," one report of a man with a flask, and one "biospill." Nine just said Brutus.
This was another clobbering (50-28) and a slow day for Brutus, with just five messages sent during the game. One reported a malfunctioning speaker with a plea to "crank it up up up!" The rest reported an unruly fan.
Brutus was busy while Ohio State pounded Rutgers. The service got 43 messages, including multiple compliments for people working at the stadium that day. There were also fans who "aren't being rowdy, just inconsiderate," a guy with a plastic sword, and section 38A row 20, which had "lots of people in the wrong seats." One just read "Help!" while three messages detailed a girl sitting in a guy's lap.
Perhaps the grossest, though, was the case of the woman who vomited, then left.
Then there was this mysterious complaint.
While it may have been coincidence, two messages came in one right after another, forming something like a meditation on, or poem about, American college football.
Twelve messages just said Brutus.
Brutus Buckeye does pushups, in the days before he was tasked with responding to fan grievances.
This was another big win (55-14), with not nearly as many complaints as the previous home game. Brutus got 15 messages including fan complaints abouta "drunk belligerent guy," some "foul language," a guy who brought in a small cooler with beer (he got ejected), and one person "throwing money."
Two people told Brutus that the band wasn't playing enough (yes, this would come up again).
One fan sent a very adamant compliment.
And one sent a complaint I think we can all get behind.
Three just said Brutus.
This wasn't the busiest day for Brutus, with only 13 messages during the 42-27 win, but a shift took place here—more than half of these messages were complaints about the band. Yes, there were a few reports about the typical woes of life at a college football stadium—two drunk students with flasks and a "drunk girl jumping around and not in her correct seat"—but seven were only about the band and they all had the same complaint: give us more band! A few even addressed Brutus directly, imploring him to take this seriously.
Three just said Brutus.
Let the band play! Let the band play! Let the band play!
If these text messages were read aloud, that's what the game would sound like: a chorus of angry Buckeyes, adamant that it's not Ohio State football if the band isn't playing enough. Sure, the Buckeyes thumped Michigan 42-28, but oh dear Lord did these people need their band. It was Brutus's busiest day, with 47 messages, and most of them had nothing to do with drunks or body fluids or wrong seats. The complaints streamed in, pointing out that fans hadn't paid to attend an NBA game or a nightclub. These fans were fed up.
Multiple people addressed Brutus directly. It was clear he needed to do something!
The messages displayed a wide range of emotions. There was pleading:
Anger and a call for firings:
And then perhaps the most unholy possibility of them all—a claim that the Michigan band was playing more than Ohio State's band! (This person presumably left the game to get a pitchfork.)
Finally, there was a plea for reason.
It was a rough day for Brutus, although one kind soul did take the time to tell him "omg. Love you." Five messages just said Brutus. And while earlier we celebrated everything we loved about college football, one message summed up so much of why we might stay home.
Top image via Associated Press/Brutus image via Getty