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New Browns owner: ‘I’d love Ohio State to play’ in Cleveland

Jimmy Haslam AP

Five times in the storied history of Ohio State football, the Buckeyes have played a game in the city of Cleveland — four times at old Municipal Stadium (1942-44, 1991) and once at the “new” Cleveland Browns Stadium, that coming in 2009 against Toledo.

With “neutral-site” games at NFL stadiums all the rage in the game of college football, and with a new owner set to officially step in next month, could the Buckeyes be headed back to Northeast Ohio in the not-too-distant future?

If that new owner has anything to say about it, absolutely.

In the course of an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tennessee businessman and new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was asked about getting more use out of his stadium generally and getting the Buckeyes to return for a game specifically.  Suffice to say, Haslam would jump at the opportunity.

“I’ll go on record as saying I’d love Ohio State to play here. I mean love to,” Haslam, whose father was a member of the Tennessee Volunteers’ 1951 national championship team, stated.

A game in Cleveland would make sense on at least a couple of levels.  The city and surrounding areas that stretch several counties wide have been a hotbed for both a highly-supportive fan base as well a recruiting pipeline for the football program.  Plus, it would give the opportunity to people in the area to come into the stadium and see a winning football team and I’m a lifelong Browns fan so by law I’m permitted to crack wise.

When asked about the possibility of returning to the Northeast Ohio city, OSU left the door slightly — very slightly — ajar.

“Our experience in Cleveland has always been enjoyable,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement sent to CFT in response to Haslam’s comments. “As  we look at our future schedules, I do not see an opportunity in the near future but will always keep that prospect in mind.”

As for the possibilities of an opponent if — still a big if, obviously — such an agreement would be struck between the Buckeyes and Browns, future non-conference games against in-state schools would seemingly make tremendous regional sense — Cincinnati and Kent State in 2014, Bowling Green in 2016 and Cincinnati again in 2018.

Ironically, the 2018 game “replaced” a game scheduled for this season that would’ve been played at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Playing a future Big Ten game in Cleveland shouldn’t be totally discounted, either; a conference matchup between Illinois and Northwestern was played in 2010 at storied Wrigley Field, home of MLB’s Chicago Cubs.

The latter scenario, though, likely wouldn’t sit well with Columbus-area fans and alumni, losing a home conference game to That City Up North.

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15 Responses to “New Browns owner: ‘I’d love Ohio State to play’ in Cleveland”
  1. dmvtransplant says: Aug 31, 2012 11:49 AM

    It might be interesting to see the best football team in Ohio actual play in a pro stadium. Cause lord knows it’s not either of the NFL teams right now.

    Maybe they could play Syracuse and have Jim Brown do the coin toss?

  2. handsofsweed says: Aug 31, 2012 12:18 PM

    As long as its a road game “@” Kent State, Akron, BG or Toledo, then yeah. Otherwise, helll no.

  3. general74 says: Aug 31, 2012 1:44 PM

    Ohio State would have to be the away team for a game at Cleveland Browns Stadium to make any sense financialy. Its a no brainer have a home game at Ohio State that seats 102,329 at $70 a pop or a game at Cleveland Browns Stadium that seats 73,200 at $70 a pop. Thats a difference of $2,039,030.00 not to mention the concession that at home Ohio State keeps for themselves where at the neutral site they would probably be split. Unless the Browns are willing to foot the bill for the difference it makes no sense.

  4. steeler1nation says: Aug 31, 2012 2:16 PM

    Ohio State would crush the Browns

  5. whoisedgy says: Aug 31, 2012 3:30 PM

    @steeler1nation

    Go eff yourself.

  6. steeler1nation says: Aug 31, 2012 5:58 PM

    @whoisedgy — was it 2nd, or 3rd grade that you failed?
    Go eff yourself? that’s the best you’ve got?
    hahah
    hey – I’m a Steelers fan AND an OSU fan … and I’m just pointing out the OBVIOUS!

  7. normtide says: Aug 31, 2012 6:02 PM

    Imo, osu playing in state nc games in cleveland and cincy would be a great idea. Offer recruits the chance to play in a couple of nfl venues. Could not hurt. Osu has $, making a little less to gain in recruiting is worth it.

  8. vincentbojackson says: Aug 31, 2012 7:26 PM

    If Gene Smith had a brain in his head his response would have been: “we’ll play a future game up there if the Browns agree to bring an NFL game to The Horseshoe”

    Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed that Smith is the biggest joke in college athletics.

  9. BrownsTown says: Aug 31, 2012 7:46 PM

    The Steeler-Buckeye fan thing really gets me. This simply should be against the law somehow. Another reason why Appalachia sucks…….it’s a hotbed of mutant fandom.

  10. BrownsTown says: Aug 31, 2012 7:49 PM

    Maybe an SEC team close to Haslam’s heart (and wallet) will “volunteer” to play north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s early Sept, so no worries about getting chilly playing in the elements.

  11. BrownsTown says: Aug 31, 2012 7:52 PM

    Forgot that OSU dropped them from future schedule. Haha….whoops

  12. BrownsTown says: Aug 31, 2012 7:53 PM

    And last but not least, what happened to edgy? How am I to know the TRUE top 25 without his poll?

  13. 10of14 says: Aug 31, 2012 9:11 PM

    This is such bull; OSU plays the weakest pre-conference schedule of any top conference team in the country……annually! I am sick of their annual 8 game home schedule that includes 4 games against the MAC or less. MSU and UM have the balls to start their seasons against good teams…OSU…..Miami of Ohio who hasn’t had a good team for 10 years and that was only a “good team” in the MAC. This is the biggest BS amongst the so-called elite in college football…MAN up!

  14. frotuss says: Aug 31, 2012 9:57 PM

    Hey. OSU has the largest athletic Dept supporting the most sports if you think they shouldn’t have a marksman team (see Olympics) or a crew team (see Olympics) then by all means hitch away. However, you’re overlooking the fact that they schedule 8 or 9 years in advance and always try to have a blockbuster home and home. Texas, USC, Miami. Cal (kind of weak) but UCF is coming too. Also, va tech and oklahoma are after the home and home with Cal. So they need the home games for revenue but they do go away out of conference every other year for a major game so I think 10of14 is off base despite the fact my birthday is 10 14.

  15. mattyc says: Aug 31, 2012 11:59 PM

    @steeler1nation
    hey – I’m a Steelers fan AND an OSU fan … and I’m just pointing out the OBVIOUS!

    Are you also a fan of bandwagons, false teeth, sleeping with your sister, & golden showers from papaw? Well….. You fit right in to the Stool City club.

    Shoot yourself!

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