A note from
Club Trillion Foundation founder, former Ohio State basketball walk-on Mark Titus
During my four years at Ohio State, I won two Big Ten regular season championships, two Big Ten tournament championships, made it to the 2007 national title game, and graduated as the program’s all-time winningest player. Now, none of this has anything to do with what I want to address here, but it’s something I try to remind people of every day, so I figured I’d just get it out of the way at the top. (While I have you, I can also still dunk a basketball. Please hold your applause until the very end.)
What I do want to talk about, though, is my overall experience as a walk-on, which can best be described as jackassery of the highest order. I constantly pranked All-American teammates, I skipped every single voluntary workout presented to me, and I even once refused to get off the bench when my coach, Thad Matta, told me to enter a game. I was lucky to be a part of some great teams at Ohio State, but I was a million times luckier to have a coach in Coach Matta who didn’t mind my behavior because … uhh … I’m still not quite sure, to be honest. Coach Matta could have kicked my ass off the team before the end of my first practice and nobody would have questioned his decision or even noticed it for that matter. Instead, he gave me the freedom to be myself, he always gave me the benefit of the doubt every time I pushed the envelope, and he even gave me a full-ride scholarship for two years.
The point is this: I’m fully aware that my walk-on experience was an anomaly. Walk-ons are supposed to be human punching bags that keep their mouths shut and stay out of the way. They’re not supposed to start blogs where they share stories from the locker room with the entire world. (As an aside: The name of the foundation is derived from my blog, Club Trillion, which in turn gets its name from the concept of the “trillion” – when basketball players play one minute and record no statistics, resulting in a box score that reads 1000000000000.) They’re not supposed to have articles written about them in the New York Times, they’re not supposed to have opposing student sections chanting their name, and they’re certainly not supposed to get book deals immediately after they graduate. I fell ass-backwards into a walk-on spot on Ohio State’s basketball team and, through a little gumption and a ton of luck, I have that opportunity to thank for my entire career, and by extension, the life I have today.
Knowing this, I not only feel compelled to do something to give back – I feel obligated. The biggest reason why my blog/book/existence resonated with so many people is because they saw themselves in me. Every one of us has been or will be a benchwarmer in some aspect of life at some point in time, and when that time comes, very few of us will be given a platform to have our voice heard. I was lucky enough to be an exception, which might explain why I received such overwhelming support from walk-ons past, present, and future as my career progressed. It is not lost on me that the ladder that I climbed to get to where I am today was built by fellow walk-ons, which is why it is my responsibility to look back down to where I started and help as many walk-ons as possible with their own climbs.
And that is exactly why I started the Club Trillion Foundation. My ultimate goal with this thing is to create an organization that serves walk-ons all over the country in every sport. I want to foster a community of walk-ons that transcends rivalries. I want to work toward reaching a point where every student-athlete on every campus in America no longer has to worry about how they’re going to pay for their education. I want to develop internships and job placement programs, and figure out other ways to serve walk-ons and former walk-ons even after their playing days are over.
All of this will hopefully come in time. For now, our primary mission is to fully endow the first Club Trillion Foundation scholarship. But to do so, we need your assistance, which is why I encourage you to consider the best way to show your appreciation for the most underappreciated student-athletes in America.
After all, the fundamental tenet of both the Club Trillion Foundation and the walk-on community at large is that nothing great can be accomplished without the help of some unsung heroes.
Mark Titus #34
2007 Final Four
2x Big Ten regular season champion
2x Big Ten tournament champion
9 career points
0 career turnovers
Are you ready for another walk-on to go for a wild ride? Here’s your chance. Donate to the Club Trillion Foundation and help us provide scholarships to walk-on athletes.