The Mirror Lake jump tradition will be discontinued by Ohio State University after the tragic death of a student on Wednesday. The tradition of jumping into Mirror Lake during Michigan week has been ongoing for years. Despite efforts to make the Mirror Lake jump a safe event, a 22-year-old third-year human nutrition major died from cardiac arrest after jumping into the lake, according to the Columbus Dispatch on Thursday.
Every year right before the football game against Michigan, students at Ohio State jump into Mirror Lake, a small lake located on campus. This student organized tradition began in the 1990s for good luck. Around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, an Ohio State junior was pulled from Mirror Lake after taking the traditional annual plunge. Austin Singletary from Dayton, Ohio reportedly went into cardiac arrest following the jump early Wednesday morning. Singletary was transported to Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center where he died hours later.
Authorities said other students could be seen jumping into Mirror Lake as emergency responders worked on Singletary. University officials immediately stopped the event and officially announced on Thursday that it will permanently end the traditional Mirror Lake jump. A statement by Ohio State University leaders was published on the Ohio State website shortly after Singletary’s death on Wednesday.
“In spite of significant efforts taken to make this event a safer one, this tragedy has occurred. We must come together and acknowledge that while this is a student-led tradition that has been passed down through the years, we cannot risk another tragedy. University leadership strongly agrees that we will work with our campus community to end this annual event.”
According to Ohio State University spokesman, Chris Davey, the traditional Mirror Lake jump was never approved by the university. About a dozen students out of thousands who participate have to be treated every year after the jump for bumps and bruises. This year, a temporary fence was put in place and Mirror Lake jump participants were required to wear wristbands. But even after added safety measures, Mirror Lake jump claimed its first and only fatality.
Some students at Ohio State say there’s no way the university can actually end the Mirror Lake jump. According to students, Ohio State will have to arrest people to stop them from jumping into the lake. Ohio State freshman Jacob Lester said this year’s jump was his first but not his last. “A tradition that runs back that far, you don’t stop it,” said Lester. Other students agree that Ohio State should end the Mirror Lake jump. Fifth-year student Edwin Rice had this to say: “For OSU to do nothing, that’s obviously impossible. A death is a death. To do nothing would be disrespectful.”