D.L. Stewart online exclusive: Let’s stop using the “T” word

It’s too bad they don’t award Pulitzer Prizes for headline writing.

Because last week’s “THE University of Dayton” headline that appeared on the front page of the Dayton Daily News would have to be the No. 1 seed. Not only did it acknowledge the Flyers’ victory over the Buckeyes in the NCAA basketball tournament, it jabbed a long overdue needle into that “The Ohio State University” nonsense.

Not that I have anything against Ohio State. Some of my best friends are Buckeye fans and they seem normal enough when they’re not contorting their arms into what are supposed to look like the letters O, H, I and O.

I can appreciate the Ohio State marching band which, with typical OSU modesty, refers to itself as “The Best Damn Band in the Land.” It’s impressive to watch the kids spell out script Ohio. Of course, it would be even more impressive if they could spell out script Mississippi State University: Ohio is, after all, only a four-letter word, two of which are the same. And only one band member really needs to know where to go … everybody else can just follow.

And it isn’t OSU’s fault that not all national sportscasters understand that Ohio State isn’t entitled to be called “Ohio,” no matter what it says on the band’s big bass drums. Would they ever refer to the university in East Lansing as “Michigan?”

Still, as a proud alumnus of the original Ohio, which has been educating scholars since 1804 — when the only important field on the banks of the Olentangy grew sorghum, or whatever it was that farmers did back then — the “The” thing really rankles.

I’m not alone. After THE headline appeared in the Daily News, a columnist for OSU’s hometown newspaper chastised the school in an “open letter” (you can read it on the Ideas & Voices page of Thursday’s DDN).

“For heaven’s sake,” he urged, “stop using that The.” He called the practice “arrogant” and “easily mocked.”

Any headline that could cause a Columbus writer to publicly criticize the biggest religion in town certainly should be worthy of a Pulitzer.

They could just send it to THE Dayton Daily News.

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