Commentary: Solich's actions must not be glossed over

Even Solich Parties Now: #2 Party School.
My friend beamed as she displayed those words on poster board during Ohio's home opener against Pittsburgh.
While the goal was to snag the attention of ESPN2 cameras or at least get on the Victory Hill big screen, people around us still got a laugh at the sign.
It was just the idea of Frank Solich -- a man of few words in public and rarely captured in photos smiling -- drinking and cutting loose - a thought that seemed hilariously absurd at the time.
Then the events of Saturday night unfolded. We all know the story -- Solich made a mistake, a terribleerror. This is a decision that takes a swift kick at the core values this university and its athletic program love to tout.
My first thought Monday when I heard the news of Solich being charged and convicted was simple.
He should be fired.
Apparently Ohio President Roderick McDavis and Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt felt differently. So in an act of hypocrisy that negates any message and initiative put forth at Ohio to curb alcohol abuse, Solich kept his job.
But it doesn't mean I have to like it.
There are just too many issues for the football program and the university for me to see them all spinfrom negative to positive as McDavis says it will.
Do his players lose some of that awe and respect for him? Will parents want their children to come play for this man? Is a key recruiting season ruined as he tries to rebuild this program?
And then there's how the university looks in its handling of the situation -- a media lovefest when Solich was hired is now a black eye that will take a while to heal.
Probation? Oh right, that thing we had in the dorms. Ohio's tough, society-changing stance on alcohol -- don't mess up too many times or you will be punished. Sorry President McDavis, this kind of message coupled with not firing Solich is not the best platform for your efforts to improve this community's alcohol problem.
Solich taking a more active role in Ohio's alcohol-education programs sounds good on paper, but in theend you have to look at who his audience will be. College kids will be college kids they are and continue to make mistakes with drugs and alcohol. Plenty of big-name athletes and coaches have tried to educate the world about drug and alcohol abuse, but the problem doesn't seem to be going away.
What I found most disturbing at his press conference is what Solich didn't say.
Sure, he made a general apology to anyone associated with the university, but only his coaches, players and their respective families got a direct apology.
He did not apologize directly to Bobcat fans, students or alumni. He did not apologize directly to thepeople who were most excited to have him here, defended him to the death and had to hear a million times, You go to Ohio

didn't you guys pick up Frank Solich?
You did not apologize to the people who now will hear, Didn't Solich drink and drive?
My suggestion? Send a letter. Steal a page from Gov. Bob Taft's book and send a letter to every student and alumni at Ohio University discussing what happened, what was wrong about it and your feelings about the future. Mostimportantly, let us know individually that you are sorry. Let us each open a letter and hear what you have to say. Coach Solich, you spoke of facing this problem head on and moving forward, not hiding in a hole. The students and fans are still ready to listen.
-Shugar is a junior journalism major and sports editor for The Post. Send him an e-mail at

Mark Shugar

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