TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Statement from TBDBITL Regarding WSJ Report 7/31/2015

The TBDBITL Alumni Club continues to condemn the offensive lyrics from a songbook previously compiled by a few rogue members and is shocked at its release yesterday by the Wall Street Journal. The material published in the Wall Street Journal does not at all reflect the true culture of the OSUMB. The true culture of the OSUMB is that of hard work, dedication to one another and a commitment to a tradition of excellence both on and off the field. We commit to assisting the OSUMB in every way possible in their efforts to eradicate offensive and inappropriate behavior in all forms and to allow the public and the alumni to once again take pride in the work ethic and extraordinary musical abilities of the next generation of OSUMB students both on and off the field.

For over forty years, the TBDBITL Alumni Club has supported the OSUMB by raising millions of dollars for scholarships, instruments, uniforms, trips, meals, equipment, endowments, facilities, and much more. We take pride in being a strong, active, and positive influence for the young men and women of The Ohio State University Marching Band.

TBDBITL Alumni Respond to Release of Montgomery Report - 11/18/14

The University Administration has previously received the report of their appointed task force, which was just today released to the media, but not to the TBDBITL Alumni Club, Inc. As Ohio State Marching Band alumni, representing former and current members of the Band, we have not been given an advance copy or any information on the final content. We intend to review the report of the task force carefully, and will have a detailed response at an appropriate time.

The following facts should be noted:

1. The point of departure for this task force (which was selected, appointed and charged by the current administration of the University) was to review of the University's own administrative process and oversight, to comment on the University's own Title IX compliance, and to conduct an assessment of the current "marching band culture". We look forward to positive recommendations to address past deficiencies in any process.

2. This task force was forbidden by the administration unfortunately from addressing "any aspect" of the prior Title IX investigation of the marching band, which resulted in the discredited Glaros report including its rush to judgment.

3. The chair of the task force, Former Attorney General Betty Montgomery, in her first comments upon appointment in August, repeated the conclusion from the Glaros report that, "aspects of the band's culture have created a hostile environment for students and that band leadership failed to take adequate measures to correct the situation and address the situation's effects." It is a conclusion which has been proven to be incorrect.

4. The methodology utilized in the task force report should be carefully studied. That methodology included interviews with witnesses who report that they felt badgered, led and intimidated on occasion. It included the use of surveys designed to gather negatives. It included the refusal to interview some individuals who had requested that opportunity. We are aware that dozens and dozens of individuals were interviewed; however, many recounted how positive their experience was in the marching band and how important and positive this piece of their lives it has been.

5. Our concern is the current state and the future of the OSUMB, and the uncertainty, stress and suffering the current students have been made to endure, including repeated "training" sessions in the guise of Title IX compliance, inconsistent discipline, unexplained suspensions, and unfulfilled promises, with the resulting damage to the spirit and family of the organization. Thus far the actions of the administration have been undertaken repeatedly to embarrass, disrespect, minimize and humiliate the OSUMB. Those actions are irresponsible and wrongful. There has been no dialogue and no constructive effort to deal with any issues within the Ohio State family.

TBDBITL Alumni Club Statement - 11/5/2014

The OSU Board of Trustees meets again this week. In August, at the last such meeting, those supporting the OSUMB and its Director Jonathan Waters were allowed only 5 minutes to comment concerning those matters. The Board of Trustees then immediately adjourned without any discussion. The Board spent less than an hour in open session yet large parts of two days were spent in secret executive session meetings.

This week we urge the Board of Trustees of The Ohio State University to not to discuss matters critical to the University family solely in executive session. We believe there should be open meetings on these issue and we request an opportunity to participate in those discussions as alumni of the University.

Notwithstanding our specific request, we were very disappointed to be informed by the Board Secretary's assistant that the Chair of our University Board of Trustees refuses to allow any public comment whatsoever at the 10:30 AM November 7, 2014, Board of Trustees meeting, once again, this week. We call upon the Trustees individually to demand otherwise. The overall approach of this Board is inconsistent with Ohio's Open Meeting Law. Continued University press releases containing the claim that the Trustees have taken action in this matter are either the result of illegal meetings or are simply false statements.

Our friendship has been tested. Our honor has been violated. The Ohio State University has changed for the worse, but we consider that change to be only temporary. We are not going away.

TBDBITL Alumni Club
On behalf of The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

TBDBITL Alumni Club Statement - 10/23/2014

As the media has already noted, the University Administration basically asserts only two serious arguments in its own defense in the employment case brought by Jonathan Waters. They claim he cannot assert a successful gender-based claim as a male, and they rely upon his status as an "at-will" employee. Nonetheless, with law suit defense by a multi-national corporation, this Administration has had its lawyers throw more salacious, scurrilous, and inaccurate allegations at the OSUMB program, dating back for years. The response is an amplified version of the absurd Glaros Report. We are appalled, and it is hard to even recognize our University at this point.

The University Administration's conduct today, through its pleadings filed in Federal Court, reflects a complete disregard for the family, for the history, and for the human beings involved. All is being sacrificed to attempt to defend the suspect OSU Title IX department, Joseph Steinmetz, and Michael Drake. Board of Trustees chair and Battelle Institute CEO Jeffery Wadsworth today states absurdly that OSU must now "...share certain information to refute meritless claims...". We are confident he does not speak for the Trustees, who still have taken no action on the subject.

This litigation response was authored by lawyers and approved by the same Administration that has consistently refused to honestly and openly discuss any aspect of the situation involving the marching band. It is consistent with the outrageous and salacious approach taken in the Glaros Report. It is designed to attack and destroy the history, traditions and people who made up the Ohio State University Marching Band throughout its history. It goes far beyond the need to defend a lawsuit brought by a wrongfully discharged employee. It is at an attack on a large aspect of the University. This Administration continues to make it impossible to "move forward".

OSU Marching Band Alumni Assail University's Label of "Sexualized Culture"

(Oct. 20, 2014 -- Columbus, Ohio) -- Graduates of the Ohio State University Marching Band are highly educated and significant contributors to society, according to a recent survey of band culture.

"OSU administration officials continuously call the marching band a 'sexualized culture'", said Brian J. Golden, president of the TBDBITL Alumni Club. "We strongly believe nothing could be further from the truth."

The alumni band asked its nearly 4000 members to list their education degrees, career fields and job titles, and describe their most rewarding experience in the band.

Among the findings from the more than 560 respondents:

  • More than 98% have completed their undergraduate degree
  • 57% have earned an advanced degree
  • Virtually 100% are pursuing (or had) a professional career across a wide spectrum
  • Most popular professions:
  • 26% are in the field of Education
  • 14% teach Music or work in the music arena
  • 14% are in Healthcare & Medicine
  • 14% in Accounting, Business & Finance
  • 8% in Engineering
  • 7% in IT

"The band alumni are hardly the type of people one would expect to see in a sexualized culture", Golden said. "These men and women are highly educated and have become leaders in their respective professions. Many are mothers, fathers and even grandparents of current band members."

"The university has disparaged all band alumni by branding the band with this scurrilous term. We call on President Drake to rescind its deeply flawed report, apologize to all current and past band members, and reinstate Jon Waters as band director."

(Note: OSU created an investigation and report which they said justified the firing of band director Jon Waters in July.)

Band alumni cite numerous examples of the most important lesson learned in the band:

  • "The most important thing I learned is to work hard and conduct myself with honor so I can have pride in myself."
  • "A truly merit based system CAN exist and to throw away gender/ethnic/sexual preference stereotypes. All can have the opportunity to shine on a level playing field."
  • "I learned respect for others, acceptance of all, self-discipline, resilience, self-confidence, leadership skilled, camaraderie, and more!"
  • "Determination. I knew the band represented the absolute best of the best brass players. That inspired my passion to earn selection into OSUMB. It pushed me harder and forced me to be a better band member -- and better person."

"There is overwhelming evidence that participation in the OSU Marching Band is a richly rewarding, deeply felt experience that stays with members throughout their adult lives. You don't become the best damn band in the land without intense dedication, discipline, mutual respect and trust in fellow members. It's a tragic shame that our own university has falsely attacked our integrity, Golden added.

TBDBITL Alumni Club Repudiates OSU "Report"

Click Here to view the latest statement from the TBDBITL Alumni Club.

Jonathan Waters Federal Lawsuit


Five Facts regarding the OSU Investigation Report:

  1. The OSU Investigation Report is an attack on all current and former band members, not just Jon Waters. It grossly distorts band culture, which is one of precision, discipline, hard work and mutual respect. Otherwise, the band could not possibly put on its highly complex and precise halftime shows.
  2. To the extent that occasional issues arose, Jon Waters was part of the solution, and not the problem. Current and former band members have publicly confirmed that Jon Waters tolerated no inappropriate behavior of any kind.
  3. In his last personnel evaluation, Jon Waters received the highest possible rating, including accolades for causing cultural change within the band.
  4. The OSU Investigation Report has been repudiated by those involved in the investigation. Current and former band members have stated publicly that the Report bears no resemblance to what they said when they were interviewed. Others who were discussed in the Report have stated publicly that it got the facts wrong.
  5. The university's conduct is unconscionable. Jon Waters was summarily fired without any opportunity to defend himself, and without any severance package of any kind.

TBDBITL Alumni Board of Governors
TBDBITL Alumni Club

BM5: The Best Damn Ban(ne)d

TBDBITL member Gary Leppla speaks on the 9/4/14 BM5 radio program.


8/30/2014 Press Release


(Columbus, Ohio) From TBDBITL Alumni Club

Yesterday, within an hour and a half after finally agreeing to allow a mere 5 minutes for public comments on their 60 minute agenda, the chair of the OSU Board of Trustees empowered the new OSU PR reps to fire back. While ignoring our public open meeting comments (other than to suggest a continuing study may present useful results), OSU Board of Trustee Chairman Dr. Wadsworth proceeded to authorize a counterattack by press release.

That counterattack suggested inaccurately once again that the Ohio State University Board of Trustees had taken action which in fact never occurred and that it had endorsed the irresponsible actions of President Drake towards the Marching Band and Jon Waters. No action had been taken by this Board of Trustees. To suggest otherwise is to disregard, once again, the Ohio open meetings law.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees simply has the power to preside at meetings not to substitute opinions for Board action.

We know the Members of the Board of Trustees are not happy with the handling of the OSUMB and Jon Waters situations by this administration. That handling has thoughtlessly brought about division and strife. It has brought inappropriate shame to the institution which the Chair ironically calls "our world class marching band."

We know the individual Trustees want a dialogue. We will have that dialogue, supported by our own pending investigation report.

TBDBITL Alumni Club Board of Governors
on behalf of The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Questions: contact@tbdbitl.com

Open Letter to OSU - 8/28/2014

The administration, now running our University, should be encouraged to embrace communication, to solve problems objectively and honestly, and to embrace the Honor and Friendship which has always epitomized Ohio State. It is the University of our parents and children as well. We feel as though we are being "handled" simply by another large corporation. It feels like we are an opponent in a political campaign. We are Family. It does not feel like Ohio State any more.

Below is the Open Letter sent to President Drake and the Board of Trustees by the TBDBITL Alumni Club seeking repudiation of the wrongful Glaros Report and reinstatement of Jonathan Waters.

We are also aware that the university administration has replied to the detailed information provided by Squad Leaders last night with a dismissive response indicating a continuing unwillingness to deal openly and honestly with the defects in the Report and the facts as are now publically known. Executive Sessions, refusals to meet, and avoidance will never solve these issues or heal the festering wounds.

An Open Letter to OSU President Michael Drake and the Board of Trustees...

Our Honor Defend.
How Firm Thy Friendship

Mr. President, our Honor has been attacked and sense of Friendship shaken.

The words of the Buckeye Battle Cry and Carmen Ohio reflect a commitment by decades of students and supporters, their families and friends, to education, to OSU athletic teams and to generations of Ohio State University Marching Band members.

The so-called Glaros Report incredibly and falsely, vilifies the Marching Band, bizarrely claiming the existence of a "sexualized" culture.

We call upon you to repudiate that claim and to immediately disavow this wrongful attack, as we have. You know the Report is wrong.

The Marching Band includes over 240 dedicated students who are living their dream, as did we, in support of The Ohio State University. More than 7000 alumni have worn the Band's uniform, in firm friendship and defense of the honor of the University. Their legacy and reputations have been falsely dishonored.

Words cannot convey our outrage that your new administration has dealt this unimaginable blow to the Marching Band and our great University.

Why would your staff investigate so hastily, and write such preposterous alleged "facts" and "conclusions", which have been proven to be suspect - and often false - over the last 4 weeks?

Why place such innuendos and half-truths in a public report, other than to satisfy a hidden agenda? You know the Report is wrong.

Current and past band members have publicly repudiated the Glaros Report. For example, five female band members whose nicknames were described as sexual and offensive have written to you, emphatically stating they were neither harassed nor "sexualized" by anyone in the band, and that it was the Glaros Report which first made them victims by subjecting them to offensive comments about their character and physical appearance.

The Glaros Report claims that Band Director Jonathan Waters did not do enough to change the culture but ignores that, in his recent performance evaluation he was praised for remarkable success in making swift and positive changes in Band values and traditions.

The Band puts its true culture on display nearly every Saturday during football season. Its precision marching, musical performances and countless volunteer and charitable activities - coupled with jaw-dropping formations created by Jonathan Waters - require incredible teamwork based on mutual respect, caring and discipline. You know the Report is wrong.

President Drake, we respectfully ask you to do the right thing. You are now aware of the grievous errors in the Glaros Report. More surface daily. You have now heard from scores of Band members and alumni about the true Band culture. The limited charge given to Betty Montgomery involves recommendations for best practices for the future. Her report should not be allowed to paper over the wrongfulness of the Glaros Report.

You can end this nightmare by immediately reinstating Jonathan Waters as OSU Marching Band Director. You can repudiate the false Glaros Report and begin the slow process of restoring the magnificent reputation of The Ohio State University Marching Band. Jonathan Waters is uniquely situated to work with your administration, the current Band members and alumni to restore the image and reputation of "The Best Damn Band In The Land."

Our honor defend...

TBDBITL Alumni Club Board of Governors on behalf of The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

Press/Membership Updates

OSUMB Squad Leader Statement - 8/26/2014

Aug 26, 2014


The student leadership of the 2012 and 2013 Ohio State Marching Band approached TBDBITL Alumni Club and asked for assistance in disseminating the following statement and supporting documents. We are so doing. The Alumni Club did not solicit, encourage, nor contribute in any way to the following statement or supporting documents.

For your convenience, the six supporting documents are available for download, both as PDFs and as plain text file (.txt)

Additional information: Contact@tbdbitl.com

Leadership Statement

We, the 2012 and 2013 student squad leadership of The Ohio State University Marching Band, know that the allegations reported in the Investigative Report produced in July by the Office of University Compliance and Integrity, the Glaros report, which directly led to the firing of OSUMB Director Jonathan Waters, are false and misleading. As a group of squad leaders in the OSUMB, who served under Mr. Waters, we have unique and valuable insight into how Mr. Waters instituted widespread cultural change through the band staff to the students as well as a well-received and effective cultural grassroots movement. Jon Waters is more than a director of halftime shows. He is an advocate for student safety, equality, and respect between all members. The groundswell of support for Jon would never have occurred if this was not the case.

First and foremost, sexual harassment and hazing of any kind was not tolerated by the marching band staff. Such conduct was met with a zero tolerance policy. Obviously, with a faculty to student ratio of nearly 50 to 1, it is nearly impossible for the staff through limited resources to wholly police the organization both on and off marching band time. It was up to the student leadership to act as stewards in enforcing the policies instituted by Jonathan Waters and to oversee their respective sections in addition to enforcing band policy and procedures.

We know that the "investigation" is severely flawed for many reasons, based upon our own personal knowledge and experiences. No one knows the truth better than those who saw it themselves. The lack of a representative sample size coupled with interviews of only a of few witnesses, several of whom have directly and publicly refuted the Report's conclusions, undermines the findings and conclusions of the Report itself. Individually and as a collective group we have attached specific examples of cultural changes, sexual harassment training, and hazing training. None of this was considered by the university during their investigation. We have also included specific examples of how sexual harassment, hazing, and improper behavior were handled by the marching band staff under the leadership and direction of Jonathan Waters.

The culture of The Ohio State University Marching Band is one of determination, respect, community and volunteerism. The evidence of this positive culture is revealed in the experiences and first hand accounts of current and former band members. Our goal is to provide detailed evidence of these cultural policies ignored in the Report which directly led to the University Administration's uninformed reaction and dismissal of Mr. Waters. We ask that the University issue public apologies to the current band, its alumni, and Mr. Waters and immediately reinstate him as the Director of The Ohio State University Marching Band. We hereby submit ourselves to be interviewed by the task force and have relevant information pertaining to this investigation. Please review the attached documents. We believe the truth is paramount.

OSUMB Squad Leaders 2012-2013 [HSL = Head Squad Leadeer; ASL = Assistant]

Tyler Provo: ASL, I-Row 2012
Ben Hyun: ASL, A-Row 2012
Zachary G. Naughton: ASL, K-Row 2012, HSL K-Row 2013-2014
Jacob Evans: ASL, T-Row 2012
Jocelyn C. Smallwood: ASL L-Row 2012, HSL L-Row 2013
Chris Wiet: HSL, E-Row 2011-2012
Mike Johnson: HSL, L-Row 2012
Allen Sun: HSL, Q-Row 2012
David Lee: ASL, HSL B-Row 2010-2012
Andy Hall: ASL, F-Row 2012
Joshua C. Clasen, HSL, T-Row 2012-2013
Alexander Jones: HSL, S-Row 2012-2013
Nickolas S. Ater: HSL, K-Row 2012
Jaclyn Schilling: ASL, HSL, E-Row 2011-2013
Joseph Plattenburg: ASL, X-Row 2013
Matt Engle: ASL, E-Row 2013
Ross Runyan: HSL, X-Row 2012-2013
Davidson Sacolick: SL M-Row 2012-2013
George Farris: HSL, C-Row 2012-2013
Phil Kirkendall: HSL, X-Row 2012
Evan Greene: ASL, A-row 2011, HSL A-row 2012
John Joyce: HSL, R-Row 2012-14
Kelton Rieske: ASL, R-Row 2012-14
Tyler Russell: ASL, HSL H-Row 2010-2012
Jarrod Maynard: HSL, I-Row 2012
Tyler Johnson ASL, F-Row 2013
Austin Willman: HSL, I-Row 2013
Brett Samsen: ASL, J-Row 2012
Tyler York: HSL, M-Row 2012
Andrew Giljahn: ASL, C-Row 2013

Supporting Documents:

Personal and Collective Evidence
PDF (74 kB) PersonalandCollectiveEvidence.pdf
Text (29 kB) PersonalandCollectiveEvidence.txt

Policies and Procedures, 2012 Season
PDF (750 kB) PoliciesandProcedures2012.pdf
Text ( 59 kB) PoliciesandProcedures2012.txt

Squad Leader Responsibilities, 2012 Season
PDF ( 26 kB) SquadLeaderResponsibilities2012.pdf
Text ( 2 kB) SquadLeaderResponsibilities2012.txt

Squad Leader Retreat Itinerary, 2012 Season
PDF ( 22 kB) SquadLeaderRetreatItinerary2012.pdf
Text ( 2 kB) SquadLeaderRetreatItinerary2012.txt

Squad Leader Retreat Itinreary, 2013 Season
PDF ( 19 kB) SquadLeaderRetreatItinreary2013.pdf
Text ( 1 kB) SquadLeaderRetreatItinreary2013.txt

Trip Policy 2012 Season vs. 2013 Season
PDF (4.4 mB) TripPolicy2012vs2013.pdf
Text ( 22 kB) TripPolicy2012vs2013.txt

TBDBITL Alumni Club Press Release

August 6 Press Conference Document (PDF format)

Message from TBDBITL Alumni Board of Governors (8/8/2014)

Dear TBDBITL Alumni,

Tryouts for The Ohio State University Marching Band 2014 are here. Thursday night, returning members and candidates finished their last summer session of 2014. Hundreds of TBDBITL Alumni, friends, and family gathered on the hill to show their support for those getting ready to tryout for this year's OSUMB. The TBDBITL family supports the OSUMB and #westandwithjonwaters!

At the end of the evening, band alums were invited to join in the singing of Carmen Ohio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am7d361hHfg

Ways you can help support Jon:

Info - http://www.westandwithjonwaters.com/

Legal fund - http://www.marchingforwaterslegalfund.com/

General fund - http://www.gofundme.com/c59v9c

Petition - http://www.change.org/petitions/osu-board-of-trustees-reinstate-jon-waters-as-director-of-marching-athletic-bands

Please send thoughts, comments, or suggestions to: ideas@tbdbitl.com

The Executive Committee and the Board of Governors of the TBDBITL Alumni Club has and will continue to meet and discuss all options moving forward.

TBDBITL Alumni Board of Governors
TBDBITL Alumni Club