For the entire United States, it’s Mother’s Day. At Ohio State, it’s spring commencement in Ohio Stadium.
And for those who are graduating from OSU, such as Buckeyes safety Tyvis Powell, it’s both.
Which makes today a very special day not just for Powell but his mother, Robin.
“My mother will definitely be there,” Powell told BuckeyeSports.com this week. “It’s her Mother’s Day gift. She has to come!”
Powell is just one of 164 Ohio State student-athletes set to graduate today, a list that also includes fellow football players J.B. Shugarts, Chase Farris and Bryce Haynes as well as such notable names as four-time national championship wrestler Logan Stieber and Big Ten Medal of Honor winners Kevin Metka (tennis) and Katie Borchers (track/cross country).
There will be a Buckeye athletics flair as well as two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, the head of the OSU Alumni Association who is going into semi-retirement, will give the keynote address at the ceremony at which his son, Adam, is matriculating.
Powell’s graduation is of particular note, though, because he has two years of eligibility remaining in the OSU secondary. He has finished his undergraduate studies in three-and-a-half years, having arrived from Bedford High School as an early enrollee in January 2012 at the same time Urban Meyer took over the football program. He’s the only early enrollee from that class to have finished his undergraduate studies.
“That’s one of those things I can cross off my list,” Powell said. “Graduating is always the most important thing because football is going to end one of these days. You have to have something to fall back on. That’s what my high school coach and my mother used to preach to me all the time – get the degree no matter what – so I can make them proud and check that box off, and it allows me to focus a little more on football.”
Powell’s degree is a bachelor of science in education and sports industry.
“I wanted to go into coaching,” he said of picking his major. “I love working with kids. I like working with even the freshmen that come in or the younger players. I like working with them to get them better. That was something I found out about myself when I was in high school because I used to coach the young freshmen when I was a senior. I like seeing them going in there and having success when they use some technique or something I’ve taught them. I just fell in love with it.”
The safety’s hope now is to enter graduate school in time for fall semester. He’ll spend the summer taking classes then begin work toward an advanced degree, perhaps in education or in OSU’s popular and well-regarded sport management program.
Boasting an infectious personality and a natural ability to command a room, Powell said he tries to balance levity and his boisterous nature with a businesslike approach in his studies.
“I’m known in class as the silly guy,” he said. “Everybody watches my interviews and sees how goofy I am. I tend to say some goofy stuff when we’re in class discussions, but for the most part I respect people and I don’t try to cause any interruptions for them. I try to make class a fun place for everybody. If you can make people laugh, it causes people to pay more attention to what the teacher is saying.”
And in a few years, once his Buckeye career is over, Powell could be the one doing the teaching.