For generations Buckeye football fans have paid the price. They've paid the price by sitting in September's heat, October's rain and November's snow.
They've paid the price with heart breaking losses to Michigan in the 1950 Snow Bowl, USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl and Michigan State near the end of the promising 1998 season.
They've paid the price more recently as once proud heros like Art Schlichter and Maurice Clarett sullied the school's colors.
They paid the price two years ago when the program and the institution wrestled with a scandal that turned Ohio State football into a punchline for the "haters" and sent a much beloved coach packing under the dark cloud of an NCAA investigation.
Don't tell Ohio State fans about paying the price.
They stand by their team. They show up for Spring Games 75-thousand strong.
They stay in the stadium after stinging defeats to sing "Carmen Ohio" with the team.
They'll buy jersies from 2 to 10 to 27 but mostly 45.
Tradition? From Buckeye Leaves to Script Ohio to refusing to buy gas in that state up north, Buckeye fans buy into every bit of it many since the day they were born and had a scarlet and gray stocking hat placed on their heads.
Now, word of a new tradition coming to Buckeye Nation. One that will ask Buckeye fans to pay again-dearly.
It's called "Premium Pricing", the opportunity to see the best games of the season at an inflated price. Maybe it'll be Wisconsin for $100 or Penn State for $125. Whatever the "premium" game is, you can expect to pay a little bit more.
Last year's ticket's were $70 a piece. It's all but confirmed a 2013 ticket will set you back $79.
Let's pause for some math. If OSU averages 105,000 fans at $70 per ticket, that's a gate of $7,350,000. Multiply that by 8 home games and you get $58,800,000.
That doesn't include luxury suites or $4 bottles of water.
The proposed $9 increase does this to the numbers. $8,295,000 per game and $66,360,000 per 8-game season. That would be more than enough to cover Urban Meyer's raise and the raises of all of his assistant coaches.
Meyer will make roughly $4-million this season.
Back to premium pricing. If Ohio State has its way, two, maybe three games a year will have higher priced tickets. Let's see what that does to the numbers.
A $100 ticket would mean a single game gate of $10,500,00 and increase of about $3.2 million from a 2012 home date.
A $125 ticket would mean a single game date of $13,125,000, and increase of $5.75 from a 2012 home date. One game with ticket prices at that mark would pay Urban's salary plus any bonuses.
It would also be $13,082,000 more than the $43,000 Woody Hayes made in his final season coaching the Buckeyes.
We're not done.
Ohio State has floated the possibility of raising ticket prices for the Ohio State/Michigan game to $175 per ticket.
At that rate, the single game gate would be $18,375,000.
Ohio Stadium was built in 1922 at a cost of $1.34 million which in 2013 dollars is about $18.6 million. Don't you love symmetry like that?
Beyond the staggering scope of the numbers is the direction the university is choosing to go.
The law of supply and demand has shown that Buckeye fans will pay nearly any price to see their beloved team played football for 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State figures now, with a great coach and unending potential for years of national dominance, is the time to exploit the demand and gouge loyal Buckeye fans for every last dollar.
It sends quite a message don't you think?
It sends a message to the 80-year old fan who was in the seats for the Snow Bowl and dozens of home games since then. The once successful, but now retired alum who sat through Woody and Earle and Coop and Tress. Who watched his season ticket prices rise slowly each year but hung on to the seats because of his devotion to old State U.
Thank you sir, please make your donation to the Quarterback Club, your parking is on the other side of the Schottenstein Center, your seats are now in C deck on the away side and it's going to cost you $125 to see Nebraska in 2014.
It sends a message to the 54-year old guy who was a junior when Earle took the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl in 1980. He's finally able to buy season tickets 20 years later and takes his own family to see Tressel and the boys win it all in 2002.
In exchange for your loyalty sir, we offer tickets to the Wisconsin game for $100 a piece, please don't try to sneak you own water into the stadium.
It sends a message to Dawn who graduated from Ohio State in 2006 with a crush on Jim Tressel and a bitter hatred for Maize and Blue.
Thank you for the $120,000 you spent on your educationn while at Ohio State. We know it'll be a long time before you will even have a chance to buy a $175 ticket to see your alma mater play Michigan again but don't worry, it'll soon be available on pay per view on the Big Ten Network.
Ohio State football has long been a big business. Coop was paid well. so was Tressel. TV and Nike have had more say over what happens between the lines than Chris Spielman ever did or Braxton Miller ever will.
But when did the focus shift so intentently to printing money?
The machine has taken the step I predicted it would shortly after the hire of Urban Meyer in November of 2011. (Check my blog from Dec. 17, 2011)
The marriage of big time coach who commands a big salary for himself and his assistant coaches is turning Ohio State football into its own corporation. Top notch CEO, with high level, well paid Vice Presidents. A strength and conditioning coach who is an assistant athletic director. A football facility that rivals any NFL training facility and expectations that are through the roof.
Ohio State opens the season with Buffalo on August 31st. Let's attach a value to that game.
They host Florida A&M later in September. Can you name any current or former Florida A&M player?
Will those tickets carry a smaller price because they are the polar opposite of "premium games"?
Not a chance.
So, no matter how long you've been "paying the price" at Ohio State, prepare to pay a little more. Or more correctly a lot more to see your Buckeyes in person.
Just be glad they haven't figured out a way to charge extra for Script Ohio......yet.