Skull Session: Big Ten Heads For Massive Media Rights Deal, Julian Fleming & Kamryn Babb Impress, & JJ Wolf Notches Huge Win


Well, that’s it.

When I started to Eleven Warriors as a lowly intern over seven years ago (before I was even allowed to drink alcohol legally), I never imagined that I would one day write a “goodbye” message in a Skull Session.

For starters, I never could have imagined that *I* of all people, would ever write the Skull Session. But more than that, I never believed that people would care enough about my work for a “farewell” to be appropriate.

But you all showered me with support and appreciation that I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve. You have been as faithful as morning, many of you reading every word I have posted in these Skull Sessions over the years. I never had to doubt that whatever I had to say, there was an eager audience waiting to hear it every morning. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

It was my dream job, and I can’t stress it enough. Shit, if I’m honest, I write Around the oval once a week as an intern was my dream job.

I’ll never forget how excited I was when Jeremy Birmingham and Ramzy Nasrallah – who were both rock stars to me (and still are, to be clear) – followed me on Twitter when I ran a shitty blog as a sophomore in college. . I will never forget how honored I was when Jason Priestas invited me to write an article a week on non-paying sports. Or how nice Eric Seger was when he edited my first post and politely asked if I had any idea what I was doing.

And since then, I’ve learned to do a bit of everything. I covered women’s basketball almost full time for several years, playing in several Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. I have to go to the Woody every week and do countless interviews with players and coaches. I have been able to work alongside and befriend writers and journalists whom I have long considered my heroes. I have to cover some of the craziest, unprecedented time in Ohio State football history.

I’ve been moonlighting as a recruiting reporter, covering a national headline, showing off my custom Chic Harley jersey, interviewing fans outside the ‘Shoe, creating our national signing day graphics, frustrating a crook by texting, putting quick cals on the breath, taking a victory lap after Dabo’s prime-time depanting, and becoming vulnerable to the thought of losing my mother.

It’s only ever been a job for me, it’s a dream come true. And I have so many people to thank for that. There’s no way I’ll be able to name everyone who’s stuck with me while I’m here (that’s what happens when you hang around for seven years) but I’ll do what I can.

Jason took a chance on me as a young student and continued to give me chance after chance as I grew in the work. Ramzy was like a long lost uncle to me – and made me a real bourbon drinker. Chris and Johnny started out as heroes in the world of Buckeye bloggers I’d been reading about since high school, and now they’re good friends. DJ Byrnes wasted no time in taking me under his wing and helping me become the writer and poster that I am today.

Eric Seger, Tim Shoemaker and Birm supported me as best they could as I tried my best to learn from them. All the other beat team guys that have come and gone have all touched me and helped me along the way. Griffin and Garrick, I’m sorry to leave you both, but I’m sincerely glad I got to work alongside you.

Colin Hass-Hill and Dan Hope – we were a hell of a team. I couldn’t have chosen a better person to work alongside during some of the toughest times of my online posting career. These guys aren’t just my old colleagues, they’re my real friends.

Even colleagues who weren’t at Eleven Warriors – Ben Axelrod, Ari Wasserman, Bill Landis, Ryan Ginn, Tony Gerdeman, to name a few – were kind and helpful and supportive of a young writer trying to understand it all, and I will never forget it.

And of course, none of this matters if I don’t write to anyone. And thanks to this fantastic community, I’ve never had this worry in my life. So thank you for that. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

The reality is that I could thank people and remember forever. But the bottom line is, I loved my time here, loved the people I met, and it’s bittersweet that it’s coming to an end.

I won’t be there, but I won’t be far either. You can find me on Twitter. You can E-mail me. Or you can just wait for me to come back to these forums – because I’m sure I will. You can’t push me away that easily.

But before I go, I still have one last Skull Session in me, so let’s go.

Word of the day: Goodbye.

CASH. As fun as the additions to USC and UCLA are, everyone on the planet knows the move wasn’t about athletic competition, prestige, tradition, academics, or any other buzzword that would have may have appeared in this press release.

It was absolutely, 100% a cash grab. It’s a respectable cash grab, to be clear, but a cash grab nonetheless.

And holy hell is that a lot of money.

Before USC and UCLA announced they would join the Big Ten in 2024, the conference was already on track to raise up to $1 billion a year under its new media rights. But after the addition, media partners were asked to “go back to the drawing board”, Front Office Sports previously reported.

Now the Big Ten hope to increase that number by 50% to at least $1.5 billion a year, sources have told Front Office Sports.

If the conference can pull it off, it could become the richest of all college sports — with a media deal that dwarfs even that of the mighty Southeastern Conference.

I’ll be honest, I had at least slight concerns about adding two teams that are at least 1,400 miles from any other school in the conference, but there aren’t many things in life that I couldn’t figure out *checks notes* an extra half a billion dollars.

Carry on, Big Ten. To chase.

ARSENAL LOADED. Have no fear, everyone. It looks like the Buckeyes are going to have some depth at wide receiver this season, after all. You don’t have to worry anymore.

Finally, something is right for the receiver room at Ohio State.

Honestly, it’s absolutely hilarious that I use the word “depth” when talking about the #1 receiver in the class of 2020 and the #13 receiver in the class of 2018.

What an absolutely blatant collection of riches.

GET LET THEN, SHAPOVALOV. Oddly enough, tennis has been one of my favorite sports to watch and write about throughout my time at Ohio State and Eleven Warriors, so it’s only fitting that I can talk about JJ Wolf, who arguably just won the greatest victory of his life, knocking down world number 22 Dennis Shapovalov.

The unranked American won the 23-year-old’s battle 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3 to advance to Washington’s third round, breaking serve on five of seven chances. Despite hitting three aces to Shapovalov’s 20, Wolf had more success on the first and second serves and posted a solid 81% (46/57) win rate on his first delivery.

Fueled by home support, the former Ohio State Buckeye also found success at net, winning 13 of 16 approaches in the two-hour, 17-minute contest. The win sets up a meeting against ninth seed Holger Rune for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Entering the ATP 500 event for the first time as a newly minted member of the Top 100, Wolf moved up nine spots and ranks 90th in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings this week. With a 6-4 record on the season, he has already reached the knockout stages of the ATP Tour twice this year (Acapulco, Houston). He also picked up wins at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami after qualifying for both events.

The only negative thing I have to say about JJ is that he shaved his mule, which should be grounds for arrest, in my opinion. But I’m willing to look past it just this once since he brought honor to Buckeye Nation.

SONG OF THE DAY. “Man Overboard” by blink-182.

DON’T GET TO SPORT. I concocted a batch of Four Loko tub and I may never sleep again… Revenge porn victim wants to be a voice for the survivors… A terribly strange anime talk about farts… A small town in Nebraska is rocked by four mysterious deaths in two burning houses… how to kiss Do nothing… How the tragedy of Astroworld changed gigs forever…


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