OSU freshmen eager to lose stripes

COLUMBUS — It is the scarlet letter of the Ohio State football team.

Before the Buckeyes opened preseason camp earlier this month, equipment managers placed an inch-wide strip of black tape on the freshmen’s helmets. It was part of a ritual coach Urban Meyer started in 2001 at Bowling Green as a fun but harmless way to initiate the new pledges.

“It all started because of the hazing,” Meyer said. “It used to be a problem. They shave your head, shave eyebrows, make you drink.”

OSU freshmen must instead prove themselves on the field. They do not earn their stripes until a veteran teammate — a designated big brother — removes the one on their helmet in a spontaneous ceremony.

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