Ohio State trustees won't reinstate band director

"We consider the matter closed and we are moving forward as a university"
Associated Press
Aug 16, 2014


Ohio State trustees have decided against reinstating the university's marching band director, who was fired after an investigation showed he knew about, but failed to stop, a sexualized band culture.

Board Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth wrote Friday to Jonathan Waters' attorney, saying the board "stands firmly" behind the findings of a university investigation and President Michael Drake's decision to oust him.

Waters, who had led the band since 2012, had written to the board asking for a chance to return to his job, citing what he called flaws in the university probe and his positive performance review weeks before he was terminated. His elaborate halftime shows drawn on iPads revolutionized the field and prompted millions of fan views on YouTube.

He wanted the board to take up the matter at its next meeting this month. Wadsworth's letter to attorney David Axelrod said the board won't review the case.

"We consider the matter closed and we are moving forward as a university," the letter said.

Axelrod said Saturday that he's very disappointed by the board's response.

"It's just human decency that they should let someone who has done so much for the university to at least get a chance to be heard," he said.

Axelrod said Waters is still focused on getting his job back and litigation challenging a "deeply flawed" investigation is a possible option.

Ohio State spokesman Gary Lewis said Saturday that the university stands behind the investigation and has taken steps to move forward.

Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month Office of University Compliance and Integrity probe concluded he didn't stop a band culture of rituals that included students marching in their underwear, playing groping games on buses, and tagging sexually explicit nicknames on members based on suggestive stunts mimicking orgasms, sex toys or body parts.

The board had stated earlier that trustees "unequivocally support" Drake's decision, and Buckeye football great Archie Griffin, as leader of the university's alumni association, also backed Drake.

Drake said in Columbus on Wednesday that he stood by the firing and saw little chance Waters would be reinstated. He has said he is protecting students' right to a safe and welcoming environment.

The university has released Waters' personnel file, which included praise for his "courageous" efforts to tackle band traditions, but the traditions being referenced weren't named.




The OSU Board of Trustees are rotten to the core.


Hot shots like these people love smacking others with their power.


Fairly easy for the OSU Band Alumni to get even.......just cease all gifts to the University. Get them in the pocketbook that will change the minds of the OSU University Trustees. There is no way the trustees or any of these university trustee can live on a dry run from the alumni. All these colleges and universities will pump the alumni dry of monetary gifts for one college wants to have more than the college next door and on and on.

The Answer Person

Reverse racism.

lunchtime 175

Such a shame that they did not give him his job back after doing such a great job and increasing the amount of people watching the games. Ohio State is just thinking of themselves and not caring one bit about the former band directors life and his future. I will never watch a Ohio State game again because of this and how they treated him.


Increasing the number of people watching the games? Nuts. It doesn't matter who the band director is, the number of people watching the games will stay the same.


Just remember, all anyone in the public has heard is Mr. Water's side of the story, NOT OSU administration's side of the story. Suggest everyone wait to take sides until ALL the information is disseminated. I know there was an investigative report made public but no one knows what may have been redacted from that report.


The report IS OSU's side of the story. If it was so good, why are they doing a second one? Good reports and investigations do not require a re-do. The interviewed members are publicly saying they were taken out of context.


"Knew about, but failed to stop, a band culture of .......". What's so difficult about that? He was letting that crap happen. Do all you mother and fathers want your kid doing those things without more mature supervision from the leader? I am guessing many, if not most, of the band felt uncomfortable but were afraid to say anything. Yes, can the band director for his poor leadership and not taking charge of the situation.


Knowitall, you have it exactly right "He was letting that crap happen." As a former HS and university band member as well as a director, I can see no excuse for perpetuating the system of hazing (or whatever you chose to call it) that apparently existed within the band. Mr. Waters did some sensational performances with TBDBTL but had the blinders on when it came to band management. Don't misunderstand me, I have been through fraternity initiations, military basic and advance training, and other organizational rites of passage and never have I had to go out in public in my underwear or anything less.


Then why did he get glowing performance evaluations about tackling the culture in the band? People who get good reviews dont suddenly end up fired.


Big Lex,

I'm not sure he got glowing reports on "tackling the culture" but got raves with the 1/2 time shows. The deficiency was that he did not approach the culture issues with the same zeal that he used in developing musical performances.

nosey rosey

Considering they are not kids but are legal adults, maybe we look back at the supervision they had as children?


Who's the leader of the band that we have heard about. M-I-C......see ya real soon. K-E-Y.......why, because we love you. M-O-U-S-E.


He had great 1/2 time shows. Someone that is smarter than OSU will snag him right up.


I bet OSU will get a great band director who will not let that shi_ happen. I am guessing OSU can get anyone they want.


I think someone in another department was getting jealous of the bands continuing success!


Bahaha, the band wouldn't exist without the football team.


I don't think so! I think the football team would not exist without the band.


Some of you need to read the report.


Why? Lol