The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Rose Bowl Requiem – 60th anniversary of the historic Faculty Council vote
Monday, November 29, 2021

Rose Bowl Requiem – 60th anniversary of the historic Faculty Council vote

This event is proudly sponsored by Varsity O, in partnership with The Ohio State University Alumni Association, the Cheer & Brutus Alumni Society, TBDBITL Alumni Club and The Ohio State University Retirees Association Society.

6:30–7:30 p.m. EST Monday, November 29 via Zoom

Learn how a faculty vote denied the 1961 Big Ten championship football team an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

Buckeye fans Todd Jones and Bill Shkurti mark the 60th anniversary of this unprecedented series of events with a retrospective look at the 1961 season both on and off the field. Using vintage photos and other material, they'll review the season, the decision not to go to Pasadena, and the university’s efforts to heal after such a divisive episode.

You will have an opportunity to submit questions when you register for this virtual event emceed by Varsity O President Steve Chappelear.

About the speakers

Todd Jones is a senior writer for the Ohio State Alumni Magazine and has spent three decades covering sports as an award-winning reporter. His work has appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, LA Times, Cincinnati Post and Sports Illustrated.

Bill Shkurti is an adjunct professor at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and served for 20 years as Ohio State’s chief financial officer. He is the author of Ohio State University in the Sixties: The Unraveling of the Old Order, published by The Ohio State University Press in 2016.

The backstory

After disappointing losses to Purdue and Iowa in the 1960 football season, Woody Hayes’ critics were quick to claim he had failed to keep up with the times and didn’t know how to use properly his half-backs, even though he had won a national championship just three years earlier. As would often be the case, the Buckeyes’ legendary coach would prove his critics wrong. His 1961 team roared through its opponents in an undefeated season that featured stellar newcomers Paul Warfield and Matt Snell.

The much-anticipated Rose Bowl invitation followed, but the New Year’s Day match-up did not. An ongoing contract dispute between the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl sponsors meant the university Faculty Council had to approve the trip as a one-off.

On November 28, 1961, a horde of news media, community members and students went to the Faculty Club to witness the vote. To the surprise of many and outrage of others, they voted 28-25 via a secret ballot to turn down the invitation. The blowback was swift and severe from both students and alumni, but efforts to change the outcome failed. Minnesota went to the Rose Bowl instead and the Ohio State campus remained bitterly divided.


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