American Football Wiki
Ohio State dot the I

Script Ohio, the signature formation of The Ohio State University Marching Band, is performed before home games, and is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, traditions in all of college football. Script Ohio was first performed by The Ohio State Marching Band on October 24, 1936 at the Ohio State versus University of Indiana football game. According to The Ohio State University Library, a similar floating formation was first performed during the 1932 season by the University of Michigan Marching band.

The Script Ohio is the most identifiable trademark associated with Ohio State Football and The Ohio State University Marching Band. It was devised by band director Eugene J. Weigel, who based the looped "Ohio" script design on the marquee sign of the Loew's Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus.

The script is an integrated series of evolutions and formations. The band first forms a triple Block O formation, then slowly unwinds to form the famous letters while playing Robert Planquette's Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse. The drum major leads the outside O into a peel-off movement around the curves of the script, every musician in continual motion. Slowly the three blocks unfold into a long singular line which loops around, creating the OSUMB's trademark.

Each time the formation drill is performed, a different fourth- or fifth-year sousaphone player has the privilege of standing as the dot in the "i" of "Ohio." Because the Script Ohio formation was one of many new formations included by director Weigel, no extra emphasis was placed on the dotting. Originally, an E-flat cornet player, John Brungart, was the first "i"-dotter. Brungart dotted the "i" two more times that season, in performances during halftime shows against Pittsburgh and Chicago. In the fall of 1937, Weigel turned to Glen Johnson, a sousaphone player, and shouted, "Hey, you! Switch places with the trumpet player in the dot." A year later, when the drum major arrived at the top of the "i" three or four measures too early, Johnson turned and bowed to the crowd to use up the rest of the music. The crowd roared, and the bow has been part of the show since then. Glen then became the first sousaphone player to dot the "i" on October 23, 1937. Since then, a sousaphone player has dotted the "i" over 800 times.

Today, toward the end of the formation, drum major and the "i"-dotter high-five each other. Then with 16 measures to go in the song, they strut to the top of the "i". When they arrive, the drum major points to the spot, and the "i"-dotter turns and bows deeply to both sides of the stadium.

At the 2009 Ohio State-USC game, sousaphonist Frank Cosenza Jr. took his position dotting the "i". In the course of taking his bow, the bell of the sousaphone struck the cameraman filming him (see video below).

Honorary "i"-dotters[]

This is considered the greatest honor the band can bestow to any non-band member and is an extremely special (and rare) event. The fourth or fifth year Sousaphone player selected to dot the "i" for that specific game must give up their spot in order for an honorary member to dot the "i". Woody Hayes, Bob Hope, Jack Nicklaus, James "Buster" Douglas, John Glenn and his wife Annie Glenn, OSU Presidents Novice Fawcett, Gordon Gee and their wives, composer the late Richard "Dick" Heine, Ann Droste, wife of retired director and former OSUMB member Dr. Paul Droste, and retired OSU ticket director Robert Ries are the select few non-band members who have had the honor of dotting the "i". OSU alumnus, and current Chairman and CEO of The Limited Brands Leslie Wexner. Former OSU football coach Earle Bruce became the most recent honorary "tittle", dotting the "i" on home side at the OSU-Rutgers game on October 1, 2016.