COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State officials say there is no recent record of campus police attending an annual ritual where marching band members entered Ohio Stadium in their underwear.
The Midnight Ramps were cited in an investigation into the band's "sexualized culture" that resulted in former band director Jonathan Waters' July 24 firing. The two-month probe concluded Waters knew about but failed to stop activities that also included groping and sexually suggestive games on band buses, and a tradition where new band members performed stunts that yielded sometimes explicit nicknames.
Waters had led the organization lauded as "The Best Damn Band in the Land" since 2012, creating halftime shows considered revolutionary that drew millions of views on YouTube.
The 38-year-old Waters, himself a band alum, and his supporters have said the university's police and athletic departments witnessed the longstanding Midnight Ramps over the years, suggesting the school's tacit approval. The university's administration, led by fledgling President Michael Drake, has cast revelations of the probe — including details on the ramps — as a surprise.
A band alumni group said it could produce dozens who have witnessed police at the events, but was not surprised at the lack of 2012 and 2013 police records related to an Associated Press records request.
"This is just one of those cool wink-and-nod traditions that they got to be a part of," said Gary Leppla, spokesman for the TBDBITL Alumni Club. The group has launched its own review of Waters' firing and is engaged in an aggressive effort to get him reinstated.
A handful of female band alums, including two who were cited as witnesses in the band culture probe, have come forward since Waters was fired to question elements of the investigation's report, including how it portrayed band culture and Waters as well as certain specific details of their accounts.
Drake, who took over as president on June 30, has said he has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and intimidation revealed by investigators. He has the support of football great Archie Griffin, who heads Ohio State's alumni association.