A Nugget of Narcissism

Ken Stickney has been blatantly wrong in the past year, so why do Buckeye fans keep pretending he's anything other than a run-of-the-mill insecure message board poster?

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Ohio State football forums are a dark place full of Nazi-adjacent terrors, and there is no man that embodies that ethos more than ostensible insider NevadaBuck, who has worked for Scout, Rivals and currently with beat-newcomer Buckeye Scoop.

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NevadaBuck has cobbled together a not-insignificant following among gullible Ohio State fans by posturing as an insider exclusively on message boards and friendly podcasts. The environment is notable in that it allows NevadaBuck to escape the scrutiny that befalls an actual journalist, especially when he’s wrong (and boy, he’s wrong a lot).

Former coworkers, who spoke to The Rooster on a condition of anonymity out of not wanting to deal with the bullshit that comes with his legendary paranoia and vindictiveness, paint NevadaBuck as a fabulist egomaniac who has no problem siccing his message board followers on to anyone who pushes back against the narratives he peddles online.

So, who exactly is the man behind the moniker? Meet Ken Stickney.

When not dropping “nuggets” of half-truths and outright lies on Ohio State message boards, Ken Stickney is a former Chief Executive Officer of Mandalay Sports Entertainment LLC, and President of Avenir Sports Entertainment; titles he earned through the hard work of being Hank Stickney’s son.

While it’s unclear how much money this earns the Stickneys, it was a substantial enough to allow a donation to Ohio State that put their name on the Ohio State Tennis Center back in 1993. (That center has since been closed and replaced with a new one that does not bear the Stickney name.) As far as I can tell, this is the only official association Ken has had with Ohio State.

Coincidentally, the first mention on the internet I could find of Hank’s son Ken involves him popping off at the mouth before having to walk back those words a mere two weeks later.

From Tim Graham and Brian Hilderbrand of lasvegassun.com in December 1996:

The Las Vegas Stars and Thunder have gone Hollywood, or at least halfway.

Two weeks after Ken Stickney announced "We have not, nor ever will, consider selling the Las Vegas Thunder," he and his father, Hank, watched entertainment giant Peter Guber and Paul Schaeffer -- not David Letterman's sidekick -- buy out the minor-league teams' minority stockholders to join the Stickneys as equal partners.

Mandalay Sports Enterprises, a division of Guber and Schaeffer's Mandalay Entertainment, was formed to operate the sports organizations, which include the International Hockey League's Thunder, the Stars triple-A baseball team and the Lake Elsinore Storm, a single-A baseball team the Stickneys also own.

This would become a familiar pattern with the junior Stickney.

Stickney enjoys playing up his net worth and the connections afford him. No doubt his money has allowed him to rub shoulders with some movers and shakers at Ohio State. (Here’s an article from 1999 about the founding of the Dayton Dragons that mentions Stickney at a banquet with the likes of former Ohio State football greats Archie Griffin and Cris Carter, for example.)

If Stickney were just your of the mill scion who enjoyed hobnobbing with football players, this article wouldn’t have been written. Instead, starting with his days on the Scout Recruiting Service message board at BuckeyeSports.com, Stickney’s wealth was not enough to satiate his ego and instead he sought to create an “in-the-know” cult of personality around himself.

The Georgia Baseball Player Who Racially Slurred Justin Fields Was Actually Cheering Him On If You Think About It 😉

Stickney is a man who probably thinks the Civil Rights Act was a mistake, so it wasn’t surprising to see him claim that the Georgia baseball player who racially slurred Justin Fields was actually “inelegant” cheering for him and it wasn’t a big deal because Fields didn’t hear the slur and it only happened once.

This kind of thing would be enough to fire most people in any venue of employment that’s not an Ohio State football message board, even before considering was dead wrong on the particulars:

This would begin Stickney’s long and winding road of being wrong about the man that would become the football program’s most famous player.

It became clear Fields would come to Ohio State when he was spotted sitting courtside at an Ohio State basketball game next to former head football coach Urban Meyer.

Stickney stuck to his guns on Fields not coming to Ohio State and maintained that the future of the program was found in Tate Martell, the 5’8” backup quarterback that was damn near relegated to the rafters at that same game.

Anybody reading this far into a post about a deranged message board “insider” probably knows what happens next: Fields came to Columbus, won the starting job and unleashed two Heisman-worthy campaigns before declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Stickney compounded his wrongness on Fields by continuing to predict stardom for Martell when he transferred to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

This is how it works with Stickney: Anyone who disagrees with him “has the mind of an infant” and when he is eventually proven right his enemies can “line up and kiss the ring and apologize—and beg for forgiveness.”

This is how mafia bosses talk, which makes it hilarious coming from an insecure nerd who needs fervent praise for doing his job.

Martell did not become a starter at Miami. He switched to playing wide receiver—his coach, like Ryan Day, must have the mind of an infant—before washing out and entering the transfer portal for the second time in his three-year career.

There would be no begging for forgiveness from Stickney. He would simply move on to being wrong about something else, which in this case was once again Justin Fields, whom he “absolutely expected” the San Francisco 49ers with the third overall pick of the draft.

Well, his information must not have been “as close to the source as can be” because shortly thereafter NFL.com reporter Ian Rapaport said that Fields would not be going to the Niners and would suffer an a slide in draft stock.,

In that time, Stickney went from talking about how Ryan Day “LOVES Justin like a son” to Stickney claiming Fields banged a 16-year-old.

Just normal stuff from a grown man with to bandy about Fields being a sex pest with zero supporting proof other than “this is what I’m hearing from other people.”

This is borderline libelous stuff, and it never would have seen the light of day in any reputable outlet that employs a single editor and a lawyer with an IQs above room temperature.

This, however, is just a normal day at the office for this famously well-adjusted man.

Here comes coronavirus, and a new and exciting way for NevadaBuck to be wrong.

Ohio State message boards, like all other college message boards, have a right-wing bent for folks who make jokes about turning the Middleast into a parking lot.

Coronavirus offered Stickney new and exciting ways to be wrong. And boy, he did not disappoint.

Spiking the football about coronavirus mere weeks after it had arrived in Ohio was a curious decision to say the least. (The coronavirus death toll, in case you haven’t checked in awhile, is at 581K.)

That he’s telling people who were right about the nature of this novel virus that “everything you said has been off at the most basic and important levels” would cause some self-reflection in anyone who wasn’t a raging narcissist.

We know that Stickney doesn’t deal in self-reflection, so instead he did all but call new Ohio State president Kristina Johnson a she-bitch lesbian from Hell by labeling her as something even worse: Someone who isn’t a friend of Ohio State football.

Did Stickney wholesale invent an entire conversation while presenting himself as some big-shot booster who can unload a cacophony of message board conspiracy theories onto a president of a university with nearly 65,000 students?

Well, Stickney’s takeaway that she was “100% AGAINST Ohio State playing—period” is curious considering months later it was revealed that President Johnson voted to continue the football season as previously scheduled.

From Eric Olsen, an actual journalist for whio.com in September 2020:

A court filing disclosed Monday shows Big Ten Conference presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the football season, bringing some clarity to a key question raised in a lawsuit brought by a group of Nebraska football players.

The vote breakdown was revealed in the Big Ten's response to the lawsuit.

The court documents did not identify how each school voted, but a person familiar with the outcome told The Associated Press that Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State voted against postponing the fall football season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Big Ten was not planning on making the specifics of its vote public.

That President Johnson was on the same side as Stickney didn’t matter because he is a fabulist who tells Ohio State fans what they want to hear, which to be clear is a much easier job than selling heroin or being a MAGA-aligned preacher that doesn’t pay any taxes.

That he fabricated an entire conversation only to be proven dead wrong months later would get an actual journalist fired on the spot. But Stickney escapes that scrutiny so he can move onto whatever wild fantasy he has concocted next to prop up his laughable status as a Guy Who Knows Things About Ohio State Football.

Tim May is a Sleeper Agent who Fed Information to Michigan During the John Cooper Years!

His latest saga involves libeling retired Dispatch reporter Tim May, the godfather of the Ohio State beat, as somebody who divulged information to Michigan as a way to explain away John Cooper’s series of embarrassing losses to That Team Up North.

This would be another fireable offense if Stickney knew anything about journalistic ethics or if the his fabled “Wisemen” weren’t another figment of his imagination.

Stickney knows you can’t prove a negative. There is nothing May can do that proves he didn’t funnel information to Michigan, and even if there were we have already seen how he reacts when verifiable proof surfaces that disproves his most lurid fantasies.

This is Stickney at the height of his vindictive powers: Going out of his way to soil the name of a legendary sports journalist for no ascertainable reason than personal grievance.

Stickney didn’t hold back “the real juicy stuff” because there is no real juicy stuff on May, just more bullshit he can conjure to sell to easily duped people:

Again, even if this were true, which it’s not, Tim May is a journalist and his job is not to serve an opponent’s game plan to Ohio State’s multimillionaire coach, who has an entire offensive staff of coaches who also get paid handsomely to diagnose an exotic defense that has been around since *checks notes* 1978.

In Stickney’s warped mind, May withheld this information as a way to sell newspapers and it “almost cost ‘us’ the season.”

It’s really sickening stuff, but the good news is when he’s not settling personal vendettas against well-respected people, he’s also bungling basic information in spectacular fashion:

Two weeks later, former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o committed to the University of Alabama and Stickney promptly threw his source—To’o To’o’s father(!)—under the bus for the mistake before claiming that Ohio State is much better at $500 handshakes than $200,000 donations to the church of the player’s father.

As it turns out, it’s much harder to be an actual journalist than some rich dude who throws shit against the sewer wall of football message boards and traffics in the same behind-the-scenes gossip that every other beat reporter hears but can’t write about because they’re shackled by pesky things like ethics.

Stickney is the modern equivalent of a snake oil salesman, only his scam has been allowed to operate in the middle of town square thanks to unscrupulous business owners who value his following’s money more than the veracity of what he’s selling them. His existence is a blight on Buckeye fandom.

THOSE WMDs. Amid opioid epidemic, drug executives made fun of West Virginians… Columbus police lead the country in per capita shooting of children… Why victims like Colonial Pipeline keep paying off ransomware attackers… Minneapolis City Council unanimously eliminates new parking requirements… The professor of paranoia.