Kirk Herbstreit Moves Out of Ohio Due to “Relentless” Criticism from OSU Fans

While some associated with Ohio State want to drive Jim Tressel out of Columbus, the pitchforkers will have to settle for ESPN analyst and OSU alum Kirk Herbstreit for now.  In this instance, however, it’s an entirely different bent of the pitchfork crowd acting out – those blind loyalists who feel there is no place in this world for criticism of Ohio State and its football team.

Herbie is moving away from his beloved home state to Nashville, Tennessee.  He said he has been considering the move for a few years now, the primary reason being the incessant criticism he receives from a loud minority of OSU fans in Columbus.

Herbstreit said he didn’t want to move but felt the living situation for he and his family was no longer tenable.

“From a sports perspective, this is rough,” he said. “I love Ohio State. Love the Blue Jackets. Love the Reds. Those are my hobbies. I don’t like moving. I love living here. I don’t want to leave. But I just can’t do this anymore. I really can’t keep going like this.

“Eighty to ninety percent of the Ohio State fans are great. It’s the vocal minority that make it rough. They probably represent only 5 to 10 percent of the fan base, but they are relentless.”

Relentless or overzealous may be a soft and kind way to describe these people.  I’d probably call them losers with no grasp on reality and no perspective.  I realize he is a public figure on both a state and national level and that opens him up to criticism.  But, he has a job to do and I think most of us would rather him keep doing it the way he’s been doing it than go the way of colleague Lou Holtz, who proclaims Notre Dame the national champions every August.  Such blind loyalty and bias marginalizes everything else you have to say, including what should be legitimate moments of praise.

ESPN covers so many college games and they employ so many analysts who truly offer nothing but vacuous cliches and opinions.  Few actually do the legwork and research that Herbie does and even fewer are actually tolerable.  Jay Bilas is Herbstreit’s counterpart on the college basketball side at ESPN.  I shudder to think of a championship week or Selection Sunday without his redeeming analysis amid a storm of Digger Phelps mispronunciations and Dick Vitale ramblings on Charlie Sheen.

If anyone in the ESPN College Football group should be driven from their home state for ruffling feathers and being an insufferable oaf, it’s Craig James.  Most Texans are aligned with the rest of the country and have grown weary of his act.

As with Bilas and Duke, Herbstreit takes incoming fire from all sides.  OSU haters love to point to the picture of him jumping on Eddie George’s back during the championship game against Miami in between objective analysis on ESPN pre and post game shows.  It’s unsurprising, given his background, that he has to defend himself against claims of Big Ten and OSU bias.

On the other side of that coin, if the reasons he gives for the move are indeed accurate, Herbie having to sustain “relentless” attacks questioning his OSU loyalty is pathetic and sad.  Terrelle Pryor tweeted that Kirk was a “fake Buckeye” last fall when Herbie was critical of an OSU performance.  I’m not sure what a real Buckeye is, but I would think it’s someone like Herbstreit:

“Nobody loves Ohio State more than me.  I still have a picture of Woody Hayes and my dad in my office, and nobody will do more than I do for the university behind the scenes. But I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to continue to be fair and objective. To continue to have to defend myself and my family in regards to my love and devotion to Ohio State is unfair.”

He clearly loves OSU and he is the best objective college football analyst out there.  Those should be reconcilable.  For an irrational but forceful minority in Columbus, apparently they’re not.


  • acrossthefield11

    As a recent osu alum and someone close to the situation, both parties are at fault here. I’m as diehard an osu fan as there is but admit some of the fanbase takes that that fandom to a redicullous and shameful level (death threats etc) and these idiots should be ostracized. On the flipside, herbstreit has publicly said some really obnoxious things that go beyond simple criticism. I disowned the man months ago. The whole world loves to tear osu down at every availible chance and herbie can’t take a stand just once and defend his alma mater? Have fun in deliverance, herbie.

  • Ravin

    I have never heard the man say something that OSU didn’t deserve. I don’t understand it. He’s not like a Jay Crawford who spends every week day sticking his nose up every other organizations back side, and then playing it off like, “oh it’s hard to say b/c I’m such a Cleveland guy.” Herbie is class, and always fair. I never hear him say things that are critical just to try to prove he’s not bias.

  • Jeremy

    Herbie is one of the best analysts in any sport. He’s fair. It’s a shame he has to leave here and move to a town that’s going to razz him that much more. He’s thrown out a few stiff comments lately but in all honesty, those are being proven legit.

  • bobby

    I like Herbstreit’s analysis. I’ve always thought he did a terrific job not trying to by bias in any way to OSU. Its sad that there are fans that are so aggressive about a commentator that they force him to leave his home.

  • Shamrock

    People have entirely to much time on their hands or even better need to rearrange priorities. For someone to have to relocate is absurd.

  • jimkanicki

    herbstreit always plays it straight down the middle. imo, he’s the best analyst in college football and always an excellent representative of an OSU. i’m proud to tell people who don’t know that he was a captain and his dad was a captain for woody. (on the flip side, recent OSU alums who can’t spell RIDICULOUS are embarrassments to the school.)

    acrossthefield11: i have no idea what you’re talking about when you say herbstreit has said ‘really obnoxious things that go beyond simple criticism.’ can you copy/paste a URL of the obnoxious stuff herbstreit said?

    i dont live in columbus or ohio so i can tell you this with 100% certainty: the rest of the world is not fixated on tearing down OSU. it needs bno defense from herbstreit. not for nothing but if he spent he time talking/defending OSU, he wouldn’t have his job at espn.

  • SimpleeKayla

    I do agree, there are fans who absolutely loathe Herbie because he does not come off always as “fair”. He goes out of his way sometimes to try and prove he’s not biased toward Ohio State, you have to admit that. And lets not forget the public pissing match he started with Pryor. That wasn’t very “mature” of him.

  • Rusty

    This is a majority of OSU fans, not a lone few. The state is a second rate cesspool because of the white trashdom in Columbus, and quite frankly, Kirk lost my respect by not going after OSU enough. OSU won 1 title under Tressel as a result of a fuax pass interference call, and the players have been taking money and benefits for years, dating back to when I lived in Columbus in 2000-2004. I won’t hire OSU grads as a result of my direct expereince with the school and their alums.

  • Keiko

    I am an OSU alumni but for a man to be given out of his home because of overzealous fans are just absurd. As his “pissing match” with Pryor, if more people had the courage to tell it like it is with this clown, our school would not be in this situation.

  • acrossthefield11

    I agree that for him to “have to move” is absurd, but those who think he’s “straight down the middle” and “fair” don’t pay very close attention and should not comment on a matter that they have little knowledge of. During the 02 MNC game against Miami, this

    was widely criticized by journalists and fan bases across the nation. Since then he has overcompensated. I’m not even blaming him for that. I’d sooner blame the E$PN sports machine than him. The man has to make a living. But if he’s so “straight down the middle”, then how do the buckeyes drop from 6th to 9th in his ballot AFTER BEATING ARKANSAS in the sugar bowl?

    If you’re not familiar with the situation and merely casually watch Herbie on College Gameday, please don’t come here and spout off.

  • acrossthefield11

    And on a side note @Keiko, I agree. Pryor may be the most unintelligent player to don the scarlet and gray, and may also be the ultimate undoing of Jim Tressel. I find myself wishing he’d gone to another school at times, despite our success with him as the starter.

  • B-Dubbs

    good.. lets remember he did vote us lower then anyone else at the end of this season… i tried to like the man, but more often then not he tore down the program then supported it… how many times did he beat M*ch*gan… i wish him luck on game day and i will continue to watch, however is it too much to ask just to wear a red tie every week?

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    @ B Dubbs. Yes. He has to wear a red tie to appease you?? grow up.

    I dont like OSU, but I think Herbstreit is a great analyst and as unbiased as you can be about OSU. And I dont think he overcompensates either. He always has you guys ranked high, speaks well of the team (particularly the D), and gives legit criticism when needed. He was telling everyone Pryor wasnt a Heisman QB years ago when everyone else in the Ohio media had Pryor pegged for 2 or 3 of em. Look who was right?

    For him to be driven out of Columbus because of some fans is ridiculous. That minority group of fans need to get a life.

  • jimkanicki

    lol.. ok ATF11. didn’t realize craig/rick endowed you with an account administration role. until i hear from the proprietors, i’ll continue to spout off. mm-k? my credentials are in order guy, ask around.

    speaking of credentials — herb and his dad were both captains of the OSU football time. so it makes perfect sense that he’d go out way to slam the school his family are so connected to. but no… now he’s supposed to wear a RED TIE on every gameday to … demonstrate loyalty to OSU?! perhaps he should also wear a flag lapel pin because, you know, that’ll prove he likes the USA too.

    if this is representative of a jackassery prevalent in franklin county (and i’d be surprised if it is), i can see why herbie would screw.

  • acrossthefield11

    I just countered your point and all you can do is talk about your credentials? I’ll be sure to start asking around.

    So we went from he’s “straight down the middle” and “fair” to the fact that he’s now critical but has the right to be? Am I getting this right? I don’t see how him and his father being captains of the “OSU football time” makes him more likely to “go out way” to slam the school, unless you’re being sarcastic.

    I don’t blame Herbie for leaving if it’s as bad as he says it is, and as I previously stated, I don’t even really blame him for his over-compensatory nature towards Ohio State. But to say he’s been fair and has been a OSU folk hero that we should all adore and be proud of is stretching it a bit. Please read the article I linked in post 9 in its entirety if you have any further questions about my stance on the issue.

  • bobby

    I think the pic you posted to just shows the fact that he STILL IS a OSU fan. How can you chastise a man thats leaping over some dude in excitement? If there is any over compensation I am sure it comes from the point of view of almost like a coach. A coach can always find something wrong. As an alum, you do that to your old team because you want the best. When I go back to my high school teams I always feel critical because I want them to win so badly.

  • jimkanicki

    you didnt counter my point. i asked what obnoxious things herbie said, you linked to a post from @ramzyn (who i like and follow), but it’s hardly authoritative proof of obnoxiousness. imo, it’s nit-picky and i remain unswayed that herbie is anti-buckeye. he cannot and should not be pro-buckeye. and if he holds osu to higher standard for praise, that’s fine with me. i do too.

    ramzyn (and you i guess) didnt like where herbie rated OSU, dropping them to #9 on his ballot. me, i dont care where herbie rated OSU. after the spanking in camp randall, i don’t care if they wind up 7, 5, 3… we’re not hanging banners in the shoe that say “2010, #3 in USATODAY poll.” i dont find this evidence of obnoxiousness. i loved the sugar bowl win and i’m not giving it back. but i can’t recall a team dropping more catchable passes than arkansas did in that game… anyone highly pissed about osu’s final ranking needs to look beyond the final score of the sugar bowl for answers.

    there are good examples of national commentators with an anti-OSU bias. (see: May, Mark) but herbie isn’t one of them.

  • OHhater

    What a pussy. Nobody will run me from my home. Yes, I don’t like Ohio State University. I am glad this is happening to them. They are just a phony as the rest of the schools in the NCAA. Now, the rest of the country is seeing what I have already known. The NCAA and the Big Ten schools play by different rules than everybody else.

  • Norman

    I always defended Herbie until the Dec10/Jan11. Not so much the Pryor thing, but the final rankings after the Sugar Bowl. That was my tipping point.

    Kirk is just scorned. Kirk will be a little anti-OSU from here on out. Kirk has allowed the negatives of the job to change him. He is still a good guy and will continue to do good things.

    Chris Speilman > Kirk Herbstreit

    Can’t wait to love the guy again…probably not until his days are done at ESPN. I do respect him.

  • bobby

    @ jim- well said and I agree with you.

  • Cleveland Frowns

    OSU bias or not, I have a hard time calling someone who’s as big of a schill for the BCS as Herbie is “the best objective college football analyst out there.”

  • Mark

    No one here has posted anything “anti-OSU” that Herbstreit has said. Do you all have anything concrete beside the year end ranking of OSU (which is completely meaningless by the way, as Jim K has pointed out). Is this all just a “feeling” you all get from him?

    I think he does a good job, Frowns BCS issues not withstanding. Quite honestly, this is just an embrassment for OSU “fans”, Columbus and Ohio in general.

  • Rini

    @ Jim – I agree and think you made some good points, but I still do disagree with you a bit on dropping OSU in the rankings, but I also don’t find it that big of a deal.

    That said, I posted this ( over at 11W just to vent and people like you and I are clearly in the minority thinking. I’m surprised. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I got lit up and even as a crazed Buckeye fan myself, I do see why the rest of the nation hates us.

  • Justin

    So your telling me that Herbie is a little critical of Ohio State and fans in Columbus send him death threats? How can you not be critical of Ohio State? Yes, the Buckeyes finally beat an SEC team this year, but when was the last time the Buckeyes won a big game since the championship game back in 2002? Both times your team was in the big game you got embarrassed.

    For the people that made these threats to Herbie should be ashamed. I am a huge college football fan, but its just entrainment. If your that wrapped up into what people say about your football team, you need to check yourself into a mental hospital and get help. Besides Ohio State Football sucks. I will say it in a different way in case you couldnt read it right. Ohio State Football overrated and should never be let in a BCS Championship game ever again.

  • Steve Kuilder

    What a baby, this is what your getting paid to do!

    -from the 5-10%

    p.s. you can run but you can’t hide, we gonna find you we gonna find you (run and tell that)

  • j2theb

    I didnt realize that there were bucks fans who didnt like him. all my friends and family think he does a great job and are happy that he represents osu so well

  • joe

    “In case you didn’t hear, didn’t notice or have already forgotten, Herbstreit used his ballot to drop Ohio State three places in the final AP poll, from sixth to ninth. In case you didn’t hear, didn’t notice or have already forgotten, Ohio State finished the season by beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Arkansas was the second-place team in an extremely strong SEC West with a top-ten ranking. Try and process that without giving yourself a migraine.”

    If Herbie still fancies himself a fan, then he’s even stupider than this move would have me believe.

  • joe
  • joe

    what doomed him was taking on pryor. we all know pryor makes a lot of dumb decisions, but just like rapistberger and vick, he’s our QB. if it comes down to it, you’re in an out of control car and you have to chose between hittin herbie or pryor, we all know who we’d hit.

  • D-Train

    i can’t believe people are still whining like little girls on that pass interference call. i mean nevermind the blatently obvious call that went miami’s way to even get that thing to overtime. oh how little we forget.

    as far as herbie goes, he’s about as good as they get for college football, although i do think at times he tries too hard to make sure we as college football fans think he doesn’t have any bias toward ohio state, therefore, maybe leaving them short. the problem? who cares. it’s one man’s opinion, and it happens to be on tv. say what you want. mark may seems to have no problem babbling about his favorite and not so favorite teams during the season?

    i am an ohio state fan, i love the buckeyes, but i cannot defend idiots who go to far with public figures like herbie, and what ryan hamby went through, or in chicago with what steve bartman went through, or in every other city where players, coaches, officials, and even tv personalities have all gone through it. it’s unacceptable. but i refuse to lump in the 95% of great ohio state buckeye fans with the small percentage of idiots who take it too far. buckeye haters crack me up. they can’t handle the fact that ohio state is a top notch football program.

  • JDR

    I just got on to see what was going on with Herbstreit and all I keep reading is how he is not loyal to OSU. I never read anything about Pryor selling one of his bowl rings or any of the other players selling their stuff. Herbsteit is not loyal. I think we need to look at current players before we go talking about a man who is doing his job.

  • acrossthefield11
  • Marie

    Welcome to Nashville!!

  • Marciano

    Please tell me u don’t watch the Nfl cause that’s the national felons league

  • Marciano

    Really dude u are a dick death threats from that trashy city guess u are trash to

  • MarkIra613

    Treating this guy like he was Mark May is dishonest and, as such, unfair. But occasionally he does put too much effort into masking his relatrionship with OSU, rendering some comments hyper-criticial.

  • gm5425

    Herbie is a punk. He let a few idiots from him out of town…to Nashville? Really? Nashville? Good luck with all of the crime in Nashville. But, you know what Herbie. You reap what you sow. You continually trashed the program and showed no loyalty to the team you played for. Chris Spielman bleeds scarlet and grey while Herbie bleeds green. Yes, green, the color of money that ESPN pays him. Herbie will say whatever ESPN wants him to say so he can afford his big house and hot wife and (allegedly) girlfriends all over the place. Here’s hoping you enjoy those 105 degree temperatures with 90% humidity in Nashville in the summer Herbie…you miserable little punk.

  • gm5425

    It’s a faux pass interference call, not fuax. I’m guessing you didn’t earn a 4 year degree anywhere. You really should watch a replay of the OSU – Miami game Rusty, as there were enough bad calls that went against each team to produce a training video for how not to officiate a collegeiate national championship game. As far as taking money and benefits for years, you are probably right about that, at all schools, not just OSU. Go take a look at the cars in the players parking lot in Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Miami, Florida State and tell me the players purchased those tricked out rides with their laundry money. Look at the arms of any collegeiate player and you see thousands of dollars of tats. Did they pay for those with their per diem food money when traveling to away games or bowl games? Open your eyes and look before you single out one team. You won’t hire OSU grads? Gee, I’ll bet they’re disappointed they didn’t get a job with your port-a-john company.

  • gm5425

    For him to let someone run him out of town shows how he’s just a little punk.

  • gm5425

    Justin, OSU beat Alabama and Oregon just for you. You’re the Buckeyes #1 fan and the team wanted to make you happy.

  • Harv 21

    No need for ad hominem attacks – we discourage that here.

    (And, btw, it’s collegiate, not “collegeiate”).