Ohio State fires band director, Elmore native, Jonathan Waters over ‘sexualized’ culture

Jonathan Waters took over as Ohio State band director in 2012.
Jonathan Waters took over as Ohio State band director in 2012.

COLUMBUS — Two years after Elmore native Jon Waters assumed his dream job as director of the Ohio State Marching Band at age 36, he was fired today after a university investigation uncovered a deep-rooted culture of sexual harassment within the band.

The two-month inquiry stated Waters knew or should have known of a “hostile environment.” Allegations include an annual “Midnight Ramp” entrance in which band members march into Ohio Stadium wearing only their underwear — and sometimes nude — sexually explicit nicknames, secrecy oaths taken to “conceal objectionable traditions and customs,” and hazing.

RELATED: Read the full Ohio State investigation report (Warning: Graphic language/description)

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Waters, 38, was shown the report Wednesday and given the opportunity to resign. He was fired this morning.

"This was a shock," said Columbus lawyer David Axelrod, who is representing Waters. "Jon bleeds scarlet and gray. I'm sure you can imagine this was a terrible disappointment to him. But we disagree with the way he has been described and Jon's going to fight to clear his good name."

A graduate of Woodmore, Waters became the interim leader of the 225-member all-brass and percussion unit widely known as The Best Damn Band in the Land in 2012. He was named just the ninth permanent director in 137 years before last football season.