By Benjamin Marrison, The Columbus Dispatch

This is really an “insider’’ column.

I want to share a secret about Tim May, our Buckeyes football beat writer who has a huge, loyal following, and give you an entertaining example of what our team does to get news to you quickly. The two are related.

First, May’s secret: He’s cheap. Despite the time he could save by flying to games, May prefers to drive if he can save the company some money. (A boss just loves that.)

When the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and were selected for the Orange Bowl in south Florida, May said he’d prefer to drive the 1,152 miles to the Jan. 3 game, saving about $700 in airfare.

Ray Stein, our popular Sports editor whose following is only a tad smaller than May’s, said he would ride with May after the game so that he wouldn’t be driving solo for such a long distance and to get a cheaper fare from another airport. (Stein has a cheap streak as well.)

Shortly before the Orange Bowl, May’s older brother, Ben, became critically ill. Sadly, Ben May died the morning after the game. Instead of driving to Columbus, Tim May instead planned to drive to his brother’s funeral in Texas, with Stein along for part of the ride.

At 8:45 a.m. that Saturday, a little more than five hours after returning to their hotel from covering Ohio State’s loss to Clemson, Stein and May left Fort Lauderdale in a rental car and headed 650 miles northwest to Pensacola. There, May would drop Stein for an early-evening flight back to Columbus before continuing west to his native Texas.

Hoping to make efficient use of their time, the plan was for one to drive while the other wrote stories for the next day’s paper. One of those stories wasn’t going to be obvious until 4 p.m., when the Rev. Vernon Shazier was scheduled to call May with an exclusive interview regarding his son Ryan’s decision about whether the linebacker would go to the NFL or return to Ohio State.

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