SE+ Perspective | a perspective on sports matters

3 Reasons Why Competitors Ohio State & Rutgers Became Allies

and how you can apply it to your business


Crush your competition. We hear that all the time. But what if there’s another, better, way? Ohio State and Rutgers have formed an alliance for the greater good by holding a joint high school football training camp. But aren’t the two teams opponents? Don’t they compete with each other, both on the field and in their recruiting efforts? Why should two rivals help each other?

Turns out, there are at least three reasons.

1. Maintain Relationships

The current coach at Rutgers is Chris Ash. He’s also the former defensive coordinator at Ohio State, where he built a lot of important friendships and helped win a national championship. Why ruin those relationships just because you get a new job? By forming a friendly alliance, Chris Ash and Urban Mayer aren’t just benefiting their own teams–they’re treating each other like human beings, people who have real history together. Some things are more important than football.

If you get a job at a new company and immediately forget who your friends are, you have some soul-searching to do.

2. Seek Mutual Benefit

Win-win situations, when you can find them, are always the simpler and easier option, in any industry.

Rutgers and Ohio State both want to win games, but they both have other interests too; interests that don’t conflict. Rutgers needs to build its brand. Ohio State isn’t threatened by a higher-profile Rutgers, but does need access to a larger pool of potential recruits.

The camp meets both teams’ needs. Urban Meyer is basically a rock star in college football and will draw a lot of attention wherever he goes. By inviting him, Rutgers ensures everyone will show up to their camp–talented young players, the local high school coaches, and the local and national news media, including USA Today and ESPN. How’s that for building a brand? At the same time, Ohio State gets access to the talent-rich high schools of New Jersey, right in Rutgers’ back yard. Together, the two programs can get what they want to a degree neither could alone.

3. Unite Against a Common “Enemy”

Ohio State would like to defeat Rutgers on the playing field, and will certainly continue to try, but defeating Michigan is most important. It is worth the slight risk of giving Rutgers a leg up by receiving access to promising recruits who can help beat Michigan .

Sometimes, there are going to be competitors you really do want to crush—and that’s easier if you have the help of an ally.

All’s Fair in Love and Football?

Whether you form alliances with competitors out of friendship, for mutual benefit, or as a way to defeat someone else, remember…

Football is only a game and, often, business is something like a game too. Sure, you want to build a better business and earn more money than the competition, but you don’t have anything against them, personally. In the end, having some competition is probably good for your business anyway, since it keeps you on your toes.

All this isn’t to discount the fact that in life, and sometimes in business, there are people who actually make themselves your enemies. For whatever reason, they want to hurt you, and you have to deal with that. But that’s a different situation from a longstanding rivalry (even with Michigan), so let’s not get too caught up in the competitive rhetoric.

Go ahead, compete as hard as you can. May the best man or woman win. But keep it clean, keep it fair, and, at the end of the day, keep it fun.


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3 Key Points:

1) Seek to maintain your relationships, even as you move on in life. 

2) Opportunities of mutual benefit with competitors are out there, you just have to look for them. 

3) What/who is your true enemy? Forming strategic alliances can help you gain an advantage.





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