The biggest college football game this weekend is probably Ohio State’s trip to Happy Valley to take on Penn State. Stanford-Notre Dame is the only other contender, but with College GameDay at PSU, and with conference implications on the line, the Big Ten contest feels like a more important contest.

Of course, Ohio State’s season has been dominated by Urban Meyer’s suspension for his role in what amounted to covering up domestic abuse allegations against former assistant Zach Smith, which earned Meyer a three game suspension. Penn State, meanwhile, remains the poster program for horrifying, widespread coverups involving the athletic department. (Though Michigan State might be up there now too. The Big Ten East, everyone.)

Which is what makes Ohio State’s decision yesterday morning to promote the game with this particular graphic so tone deaf:

“Ohio State! Penn State! The silence game!” is probably not the vibe they were going for, but it’s the one they achieved. (Update: after significant backlash, they deleted it. They also deleted the apology they later tweeted, which can be found here. Original post resumes below.)

Twitter, predictably, reacted with Twitter’s signature mixture of amused disgust:

And plenty more. Fortunately, the Ohio State football account did issue a follow-up tweet:

Damn it.

It might be tough to ask a social media team to grasp things outside of a football context. In that context, this weekend’s game is clearly important, and will have season-long repercussions for the sport. But, and this has clearly been difficult to grasp for plenty of schools (and professional teams): there are more important things than sports.

It’s hard to promote Saturday’s game in a way that doesn’t invite the obvious criticism that gets directed at Ohio State and Penn State, but it’s also tougher to imagine a worse way to avoid it than that tweet.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.