Meyer Doing More Than NCAA Waiver Allows For?

On the same day it announced Urban Meyer as its next head football coach, November 29, Ohio State requested and was granted a NCAA waiver allowing the school to exceed the allowable number of football coaches on staff through the Buckeyes’ bowl game.

(Meyer not practicing what he preaches?)

Rusty Miller of the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported on December 9, 2011:

The existing staff, under Luke Fickell, will prepare the Buckeyes on the field in the days leading up to and including their Gator Bowl game against Florida on Jan. 2. Then there is incoming coach Urban Meyer, who will handle only recruiting while hiring his own assistants.

The waiver specifies that no more than 10 coaches - and no more than seven at any one time - may be involved in recruiting. Ohio State asked for the waiver because otherwise it would have exceeded the maximum number of allowed coaches under NCAA rules.

Such waivers have been granted in the past, but Ohio State’s situation is unique because Fickell plans to retain a prominent spot on Meyer’s staff as a lead recruiter and defensive play-caller.

Thursday Fickell was asked by Ohio State Football Radio Network broadcaster Jim Lachey - via WBNS-FM in Columbus - how Meyer was coping with not being part of Ohio State’s Gator Bowl preparations.

Lachey: “(Has it) been tough keeping him on the sidelines?”

Fickell: “He tried not to come around too much but when it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood.”

One presumes Lachey meant to say “off the sidelines.” Regardless, Fickell’s answer has already raised some eyebrows.

Earlier today GAINESVILLE (FL) SUN columnist Pat Dooley, who has covered Florida football for decades, Tweeted this response to Fickell’s contention that Meyer has “tried not to come around too much“:

Fickell on his coach’s show last night: “(Urban) tried not to come around too much but when coaching is in ur blood it’s in ur blood.” Hmm.

Because of Meyer’s intimate knowledge of the personnel of Ohio State’s Gator Bowl opponent, Florida, his possible involvement in Ohio State’s preparations for its game against the Gators would be of more impact than had the Buckeyes faced any other opponent in college football.

If Meyer was indeed involved in briefing the Ohio State coaching staff and/or players on Florida personnel or game preparations in any way, which would be against the terms of the NCAA waiver, it’d be another slap in the face to Gator fans at the hands of the former coach.

Fickell indicating that perhaps Meyer hasn’t limited his influence on the current OSU program to recruiting is also likely to concern University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, who complained about the Ohio State NCAA waiver when it was first announced. He then provided greater detail to his objections last week.

Brandon to the DETROIT NEWS on December 22, 2011:

Our (Michigan) coaches right now are sleep-deprived. They’ve got to plan to get 130 people to New Orleans (Michigan plays Virginia Tech in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl), practicing and preparing a game plan and doing all the things coaches do, and yet this is one of the busiest recruiting seasons of the year.

“Urban Meyer is able to spend 100 percent of his (December) time recruiting athletes, and no other coach in our conference has that flexibility.

“The NCAA preaches over and over about maintaining a level playing field and treating everybody the same. If that’s their guiding principle, someone at the NCAA needs to explain how this translates into a level playing field.”

On second thought, considering the significant positive impact Ohio State is likely to gain from Meyer’s salesmanship to prospective players, perhaps Brandon would prefer the new OSU head coach spend more time gameplanning for a meaningless Gator Bowl than matching wits with Michigan’s ’sleep-deprived’ assistants on the recruiting trail.

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Meyer Blocked Media With Guard Inside Pressbox

EXCLUSIVE: As confirmed here last Friday, Urban Meyer has agreed in principle to become the next head football coach of Ohio State.

Urban Meyer confronts Jeremy Fowler of Orlando Sentinel

(Meyer “berated” reporter Jeremy Fowler in March, 2010. Later apologized.)

Nothing will be signed between Meyer and Ohio State until after the Buckeyes play Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor, with an announcement likely to come as soon as Monday or Tuesday.

Despite his ABC/ESPN broadcast crew being assigned to the same game on Saturday, multiple sources confirmed this week that Meyer told ESPN he would not work the game. When ESPN, unbeknownst to Meyer, then assigned him to work its GameDay production on location before the Alabama-Auburn game, the coach refused that assignment as well. Eventually ESPN and Meyer agreed on his working Saturday in Bristol.

Why did Meyer refuse assignments in Ann Arbor and Alabama? For the same reason a security guard was stationed inside his broadcast booth last Saturday at Michigan Stadium to block reporters from asking him anything about his agreement to coach Ohio State.

The same security guard, I have confirmed via multiple sources, is normally assigned to patrol the entire Michigan press box - not guard a broadcaster - as was the case last Saturday. The guard also escorted Meyer to and from the booth from inside the press box expressly to prevent the next Ohio State coach from being confronted by credentialed, working media.

ASSOCIATED PRESS reporter Larry Lage reported that Meyer “declined comment” before the game. Along with Lage, multiple sources said COLUMBUS DISPATCH reporter Todd Jones was also blocked by the security guard from engaging in any conversation with Meyer while inside the press box.

Despite Meyer using a security guard to block reporters from a story he was responsible for, sources also confirmed ESPN’s Joe Schad could be seen talking with Meyer inside the same media-embargoed Michigan Stadium broadcast booth before the game.

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Meyer Confirms Hire to Prominent Ex-Buckeyes

Last Friday I reported that Urban Meyer had agreed in principle to become the next head football coach of Ohio State.

Urban Meyer 911 call

Multiple sources confirmed today that Meyer has reiterated his intention to take the job during recent phone calls to multiple, prominent former Ohio State football players.

Sources said Meyer contacted the ex-Buckeyes to ask for guidance on possible assistant coach hires and - just as important - their public support when Meyer’s hire is announced next week by Ohio State.

Sources close to Ohio State said today that an announcement on Meyer’s hire by the school will come next Monday or Tuesday though nothing has been signed between the two parties at this time.

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Herbstreit: ‘talked to Urban Meyer about coaching’

Friday I broke the news that Urban Meyer has agreed in principle to become the next head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer not calling the Ohio State Michigan football game with normal TV crew

(Ohio State: Meyer not calling OSU-Michigan game with normal TV crew)

With that agreement - which I reported Friday did not include a signed contract - I also reported that Meyer “aimed to addKirk Herbstreit to his coaching staff.


Monday Herbstreit confirmed to Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio that he had spoken to Meyer about coaching.

Excerpt from Herbstreit comments:

“I’ve talked to Urban Meyer just like I’ve talked to a lot of other coaches in the past about getting into coaching. It’s in my blood, I’d love to coach. But at this point, do you think I’m crazy? I’ve got the best job, for me, in television.”

After the Sports by Brooks report on Friday, Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com were first to report an on the record confirmation from Ohio State that the school had been in contact with Meyer about the job.

Meyer will also not be calling the Ohio State-Michigan football game on television despite his play-by-play and color analysts partners, Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman, being assigned to the game.

UPDATE: Onlygators.com reports that Meyer is not working the Ohio State-Michigan game with his normal crew in order to appear on ESPN’s College GameDay - with Kirk Herbstreit - from the Alabama-Auburn game.

UPDATE: Pat Dooley of the GAINESVILLE SUN reports, “Urban Meyer isn’t sure where he will be Saturday for ESPN but it won’t be Alabama-Auburn, he said.

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Meyer Agrees To Coach Buckeyes, Building Staff

Multiple sources close to the Ohio State football program have confirmed that Urban Meyer is assembling a coaching staff after agreeing to become the next head football coach at Ohio State.

Urban Meyer and Gene Smith on Sept. 3, 2011 at Ohio State before OSU game against Akron

(9/3/2011: Meyer & Ohio St. Athletic Director Gene Smith at Ohio Stadium)

The deal between Meyer and Ohio State was consumated in principle earlier this week in Columbus but not signed. It includes a multi-year contract that will make Meyer once again one of college football’s highest paid coaches.

In additon to Meyer’s generous compensation package, sources said a major factor in the coach’s decision to agree to take the position was the school promising him the budget to assemble what is expected to become the highest-paid assistant coaching staff in college football history.

Of that staff, sources indicate Meyer’s intial plan is to retain current Ohio State head football coach Luke Fickell and current Buckeye wide receivers coach Stan Drayton.

Meyer also aims to add Chris Spielman, Kirk Herbstreit, current North Carolina State linebackers coach Jon Tenuta and current LSU offensive line coach Greg Studwara to his Ohio State staff.

Studwara was offensive line coach for Bowling Green when Meyer was the head coach of the Falcons in 2001 and 2002. One source indicated Studwara is being considered by Meyer as possible offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes.

Meyer was one of two candidates Ohio State contacted during its hiring process. Jon Gruden was also approached by the school, but declined interest.

Photo credit: The-Ozone.net.

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Urban Meyer’s Daughter On Dad’s OSU Chances

Urban Meyer’s daughter Nicki apparently had an esophageal spasm is exasperated over talk that her famous father may soon take over as head football coach at Ohio State.

NIcki Meyer's Tweet about Father going to Ohio State

Nicki, who is a volleyball player at Georgia Tech, Tweeted on Tuesday:

Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE. thanks.

Sounds like the bunkbeds at Joe Schad’s Bristol pad are working out famously for the Meyer fam.

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Urban Meyer: Outlaw Coaches Not Afraid Of NCAA

Last Friday on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis, Urban Meyer waylaid the Indy-based NCAA during an interview with host Dan Dakich.

Urban Meyer rips NCAA: Outlaw Coaches Taking Over

(Link to full interview on 1070 The Fan’s Dan Dakich Show)

Meyer ripped the NCAA from every possible angle, intimating that outlaw coaches have taken over the profession while the coaches who run clean programs are forced to be “politically correct” as they suffer a “competitive disadvantage” in silence.

Meyer also noted that he himself assembled recommendations for NCAA rules enforcement last year and sent out his plan to various college athletics administrators. Recommendations that apparently fell on deaf ears - at least from the NCAA rule enforcement perspective.

Along with the audio from 1070 The Fan below, I’ve transcribed the follow excerpted comments from Meyer’s interview with Dakich below:

Urban Meyer: Read more…

Ex-Gator: Urban Meyer “really had a heart attack”

Ali Peek of GatorBait.net has a fascinating interview with extremely candid former (2008-10) Florida Gator running back Emmanuel Moody. If you were wondering about why the Gators struggled last season, Moody provides some unvarnished, inside analysis of what happened.

(Moody was on the team when Meyer broke down physically)

Also notable was Moody’s repeated description of the health problems former head coach Urban Meyer endured in the past two years. Here’s an excerpt from Peek’s interview with Moody on the subject: Read more…

Gator Baitor: Moralizing UF President Steps In It

By all accounts, University of Florida President Bernie Machen is a good dude.

Florida President Bernie Machen On Oversigning And Grayshirting

(As Machen’s a BCS-hater, cut Google-challenged dude a break)

But suffice to say today’s morality play by Machen in assailing the practice of oversigning and”grayshirting” will forever be a source of embarrassment for the school president.

Machen’s op-ed at SI.com, titled, “Grayshirting is morally reprehensible practice,” characterizes the practitioners of such activity as immoral, “nefarious” and  “disgusting.

From Machen’s perspective, such hyperbolic, accusatory language is more than unfortunate considering his own former football coach, ex-Florida Gator sideline boss Urban Meyer, employed the exact tactics Machen attacked today - on multiple occasions. Read more…

Video: ESPN Plague Infects 1 Of The Good Guys

I like Neil Everett. Nice guy.

Neil Everett

(Video: J-School Professor Discretion Is Advised)

So it pains me to report that, like the movie Aliens or Kurt Russell’s crappy remake of The Thing, it appears Everett’s now incubating ESPN’s detestable myth-making monster. Read more…