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Traditions

What Is A Buckeye?

Buckeyes
Buckeyes
A small, shiny, dark brown nut with a light tan patch that comes from the official state tree of Ohio, the buckeye tree.

According to folklore, the Buckeye resembles the eye of a deer and carrying one brings good luck. "Buckeyes" has been the official Ohio State nickname since 1950, but it had been in common use for many years before.

The first recorded use of the term Buckeye to refer to a resident of the area was in 1788, some 15 years before Ohio became a state. Col. Ebenezer Sproat, a 6'4" man of large girth and swashbuckling mannerisms, led the legal delegation at the first court session of the Northwest Territory in Marietta. The Indians in attendance greeted him with shouts of "Hetuck, Hetuck" (the Indian word for buckeye), it is said because they were impressed by his stature and manner. He proudly carried the Buckeye nickname for the rest of his life and it gradually spread to his companions and to other local settlers. By the 1830s, writers were commonly referring to locals as "Buckeyes."

Buckeye Leaves
Buckeye Leaves
A round white decal, about the size of a quarter, with a green depiction of a buckeye leaf is applied to Ohio State football helmets for big plays and consistency on the field. This tradition started in 1967 when Woody Hayes and longtime trainer Ernie Biggs changed the look of the Ohio State uniforms. Many of the sports at Ohio State incorporate Buckeye Leaves into their equipment and uniforms.

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