Media Days Won’t Be Kind to Urban Meyer

As if Aaron Hernandez, the murder suspect who once played for Urban Meyer at Florida,  wasn't going to make things uncomfortable enough for the Ohio State head coach, discipline issues with four Buckeye players have also hit just ahead of Big Ten Media days.  Meyer's punishments of these recent offenders might give him some talking points, but it won't spare him the likely grilling he's going to face by the assembled media.

 

Before Hernandez or any of the OSU players made news, this headline ran in USA Today over a year ago, "Urban Meyer's tenure at Florida was full of off-field issues".  The story references overlooked positive drug tests.  It references a report that star playmaker Percy Harvin assaulted the team's wide receivers coach and was not disciplined.  After landing at Ohio State, Meyer apparently told a star recruit that he wouldn't let his son play at Florida due to character issues in the locker room.  Here's a damning quote about Meyer from a former player from his time with the Gators, "...he's a bad person.  He'll win at Ohio State.  But if he doesn't change, they're going to have the same problems."

And there are problems.  Star Buckeye cornerback Bradley Roby apparently is facing misdemeanor battery charges.  So far, his known punishment is that he won't attend Big Ten media days.  That sound like more of a relief than a punishment.  Freshman tight end Marcus Baugh is suspended from the opener against Buffalo after an alcohol-related incident.  How will OSU compete?  Incoming freshman offensive lineman Tim Gardner will not be part of the 2013 team after Columbus police charged him with obstruction of official business.  It's perhaps worth noting that Gardner was one of the most lightly regarded recruits in Ohio State's recent recruiting class.  Top running back Carlos Hyde is suspended after an arrest on assault charges against a female.  It sounds like an opportunity exists for Hyde to return if he manages to escape conviction.

With all of the talk about the problems Meyer left at Florida, the lack of discipline of Hernandez, and now a quartet of issues before his second season in Columbus, discipline is sure to be a major topic of questioning for Ohio State's head coach on Wednesday.  Anyone who thinks Bo Pelini was hasty in booting a pair of players from Nebraska after a single offseason altercation can see why the move can be necessary for anyone in it for the long haul.  How Meyer handles the line of questioning Wednesday and any further discipline issues could mean a lot for the long term future of OSU football.  Players and recruits alike will surely be listening. 

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Comments 14 comments so far

I knew it had been way too quiet this summer.  Finally a couple of dumbasses stepped forward to shatter the serenity.

I agree.  Urban will be asked a lot about things that have little to do with the 2013 season.

The Hernandez thing is a little ridicuous.  All evidence is that Meyer knew that AH was a high risk guy, and went over and beyond in trying to help the kid.  It didn’t work.  Think about whether we want secondary or tertiary authorities to bear any responsibility for everything their charges do in their lives. 

I work with high risk kids through the juvenile court here in Ohio as a mentor.  Some of them do fantastic and some of them I go to visit at the jail or prison.  In the end, there physical/chemical/mental issues that come into play, there are homes/parents that greatly affected these kids, and most importantly, these kids ultimately make the decisions about who and what they will be.  To blame me for the fact that a kid I mentored is now in prison for rape, is totally inane - assuming I didn’t encourage him to rape - which I didn’t!  When you criticize the person trying to help, and hold them responsible for the helpee’s deparvity, you discourage helpers from coming forward.  We had better think about that.

I have also raised 2 kids to adulthood.  The law held me responsible for their actions up to a point, but now they are out from under my authority, and are making their own decisions.  Again, if I taught them to do wrong things, then I have to shoulder some responsibility for what they become.  But if I taught them good and right principles to live by, and yet they choose to do wrong, then that’s on them.  They are great young people BTW.  :)

All that is so obviously true, that it should be applied by the fair and thinking among us to Urban Meyer - or Bo Pelini - or Coach Whoever when they find themselves in this situation.  But alas, we have this hatred of certain people that causes us to place blame where it probably doesn’t belong.

The first, most important, (and most difficult for the subject to comprehend and appreciate) aspect of “help” is accountability. Meyer has a record of failing to demand it and exercise it consistently. That is the one area where I disagree with your assessment. There IS a link to Hernandez, albeit just a link. Blaming him for Hernandex current situation is certainly not fair, but complete absolution isn’t either.

I hear you.  I agree about accountability as an essential element in effective help.  I would just point out, how do we know there was no accountability?  We weren’t there.  I don’t know if there was or wasn’t.  I think there is an ASSUMPTION there wasn’t any with Hernandez, but that’s all it is.

Disciplining kids is a really hard job.  They are all different.  They respond to different things.  You have to be very wise as a parent to make the right call - and every single parent has made the wrong call in some instance or another - probably in a lot of instances.  You can go too harsh or too lenient - and there are consequences both ways.  But at the end of the day, I can’t judge what another chooses to do.  I am working with incomplete information.  Only the parents know that child well enough to be qualified to decide what is right for them.

If we transfer that idea over to college coaches, the same applies.  They will always have more information than they are telling.  If they go harsh, they can be criticized for doing it because the player wasn’t vital, or if they were vital, the coach ruined a kid’s life.  If they go what appears to be lenient and soft, then they aren’t holding players accountable - and we see that implied in the article above.

Last year OSU senior LB Storm Klein had a girlfriend file domestic violence charges against him, alleging that he pushed her.  He was indefinitely suspended.  The gf later admitted that she was hitting him, he pushed her out the door, and shut the door.  That lined up with the fact that she didn’t have a mark on her.  But by the time the truth came out, Klein missed 4 games.

Hyde may be in a similar situation.  Word is that there is video of the incident that shows that the girl was hitting Hyde and he put his elbows up defensively and the girl slammed her face into his elbow.  If true, that changes things - the same way it was with Klein.  Why would we applaud a coach who kicks people off the team without knowing what really happened?  They generally don’t anyway.  A suspension until the facts come out is the appropriate thing to do.  Hyde or Roby have never been in trouble before. 

I will say that if Hyde did hit that girl, then throw his ass off the team and good riddance.  But let’s find out what happened.

WINOSU, I agree with you in many different areas of what you stated.  The person helping is not responsible for the actions that they didn’t teach or mentor the person.  We are all responsible for our own actions, good and bad, and all of these kids know the difference between right and wrong, no matter where they grew up, or what kind of parenting they had, they know the difference. 
Where I see that Meyer owns some of the responsibility is that IF he allowed Hernandez to act in the wrong way and not punish him, then what is Meyer mentoring.  This teaches these guys going to the NFL that they are untouchable.  I believe that these types should be pin pointed and dealt with in college, so they don’t make it to the NFL , or at least not on an easy path. 
Colleges now days are a win at all cost, and forgot that it is also about making good young men out of all the players, not just some of them.  I back Bo in dropping the students that he did this year, I don’t know everything that happened, but if police where involved, they don’t deserve the free ride through college.  Us as fans need to back the coaches on doing these types of things as well.  There is nothing that I like seeing more then the Husker winning a football game, but I don’t like seeing at the price of someone having something done wrong to them, and no price paid for it.  We have had our players as well, that came through our system and got passes, I never agreed with it, even to this day.  You can be an outstanding athlete without being in trouble.  There are many kids that are going to college paying their own way, working, with lots of stress, and never have to talk to the police but to ask for directions.  Plus, there are way too many players that start early, and never have any interaction with the police.
Kids will be kids, but wrong is still wrong.  These types go on to the NFL to become heroes to the young kids, and we sit back and wonder what is wrong with the youth of today.

WinOSU, May I make two points here?  Point number one is I (and I’ll bet most everyone who reads you message will) agree with every word.  Two, I hope you are wildly successful in what has to be one of the most difficult and emotionally draining jobs there are.  Here’s wishing you and the young people you are mentoring best of luck. 

However, DJ made a point that journalists have been making about out Mr. Meyer for some time now…the guy simply lets people get away with far too much before putting the proverbial foot down… also, conventional wisdom says he left Florida not for health reasons and to be with family, rather, the program was about to become a pile of crap.  And it did.  Ask Muschamp how much fun he had in his first year there.  Lastly, I honestly feel bad for the OSU fans…after what they went through with Tressel’s sad ending they do not deserve what I’m afraid Meyer is ultimately going to put them through.  The way he handles the last couple of situations with his #1 running back and his defensive star will be watched very, very closely.

Cap, I do VOLUNTEER mentoring.  :)

I masquerade during the day as a physician - who loves CFB.

Yeah, Urban has a reputation with his tenure at Florida, and it seems to be mostly well-earned.  Basically, that he wins, but at a cost in terms of arrests, embarrassing incidents, etc.

The truth is that he has had very little trouble with arrests in the last 1 1/2 years.  Last year there was the Klein incident, and 2 players were cited for peeing on a building at the Memorial Golf Tournament.  There were some rumors about a sexual assault involving a recruit and possibly a player on the roster, but nothing ever came of it.  Victim wouldn’t cooperate?  Or maybe there was nothing to it.  One guy, David Perkins, transferred in the spring, and there was some talk that he had ran afoul of the law somehow in his hometown.  That’s the totality of it.  In every case, there were never any charges that stuck or no solid information.  Even if all those events did result in charges, and the players were guilty, it still wouldn’t rise to the level of what was going on at Florida. 

I think Urban didn’t want to go through that again, and I would bet the OSU officials stressed that he needs to do things differently this time.  I bet very few people outside of BuckeyeNation knew that these guys had been almost choirboyish.  Certainly Meyer gets no credit for it.

But, of course, eventually a couple of guys decide to be a fools, and that gets interpreted in light of Florida, not the last year and half.

Don’t feel sorry for us!  Meyer is building a monster football program, and it’s going to be fun to see what they can get done on the field.  The fun will go away tho if the program implodes due to off the field issues.  While I admit that it’s possible, I sense that things have been put in place that will make sure that it doesn’t happen.

But let’s be honest.  People hate the monster and want it to implode.  So, when the inevitable happens, and some OSU football player decides to go to a bar/club and be a dumbass, no matter what Meyer does, he will get heat.  I think if you watch how he handles the heat that is coming at the BIG meeting this week, I think you will see that he cares about his team and program, and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks - which is the way he should be.

If he does the right things, I’ll support him.  If he enables guys to avoid accountability, I won’t.  The facts will come out on the Hyde situation.  If he hit her, he better be gone.  If he didn’t, he needs to get whatever the suspension is for being a dumbass.  My lawyer says Roby will plead to a C misdemeanor, get probation, and then get a 1-4 game suspension from Meyer depending on the details.  So, I will soon have an idea of whether the Ohio State Urban is different than the Florida Urban.

With all due respect to those who believe a college football coach is responsible for the troubles their players have off the field I would simply say, BS!!

Urban Meyer is probably just as dissappointed as the rest of us are with the conduct of these players or would-be players.  Their parents are going to have to take some of the heat.  I mean for crying out loud, I know folks who expect more from a coach than they expect from a Priest!

Let’s not get carried away.  Sometimes the kid just needs a little encouragement.  Sometimes they need a good swift kick in the pants, other times they need some time in a cell to work out their issues.  Now, which does Meyer have at the ready?

Q:  Coach Meyer, what are you going to do to ensure that these players do not cause problems off the field before and after the season, and in doing so, do you think that their conduct reflects the values instilled here at OSU?

A:  What was that last part of your question, because I stopped listening after it sounded like you said, “WEEAAA, eh hun, WEAAA!”

I mean really people.  When I screw up ballancing my check book, it’s not like the Police put out an APB on my Middle School Math Teacher.  Sheesh!

I dislike urban meyer alot. But did he put gun in hernandez hands? No did he force him to pull trigger? No. Urban has nothing to do w his case, its not college ball still w them. So y bring it up?

Y bring it up?  Because drama, scandal, and controversy (real and conjured) puts eyeballs on TV, newspapers, and magazines - and those eyeballs equate to money.  BuckeyeNation loves their team, and they hyper-react when some Mark May type ridicules the team, coach, or program.  Everyone else pretty much hates Ohio State, and loves to see and hear about their troubles.  Either way, it draws those eyeballs.  :)

The record speaks for itself.  This isn’t the first instance, nor will it be the last.  Is the current situation blown out of proportion by media hype?  Yes.  However, that is only a small portion of the overall picture.

WinOSU, I applaud your work with kids.  However, you have to recognize that there is a difference between mentoring troubled teens and inviting them onto your football team and university.  When you recruit them you must know that they will represent your university and team.  And, as such you will bear at least some responsibility for them.

Thugs gonna thug.  If you recruit a bunch of troubled manbeasts without enough discipline and accountability you can clearly achieve some impressive short term success.  Long-term, well again the results speak for themselves.

Tad,

The problem with your theory is that 1) Meyer did not recruit Hyde and Roby (those are Tressel’s boys)  2) Neither Hyde nor Roby have ever been in any type of trouble before - and they are 4 and 5 year players. Kinda hard to call them thugs, or even troubled. 

Meyer did recruit Baugh and Gardner.  Baugh will sit out a game - which really means nothing since the chances of him playing were slim to start with.  Gardner has been dismissed and sent home - he “interfered” with police - whatever that means - but evidently, whatever he did was serious.

Human beings are complex.  They do unexpected things.  Hell, I’ve disappointed myself for doing something that I knew I shouldn’t have done.  It’s not as clean and cut-n-dry as many of you want to impose on Coach Meyer or others in charge of young men. 

Imperfect people taking pot shots at the disciplinary dicisions of other imperfect people is a little bit irritating when the former imperfect people might be more imperfect than the imperpect people they are criticizing!! Just something to think about.

As much as Im not an Urban Meyer fan , I must admit he attacked the recent problems at Ohio State almost perfectly at the Big Ten Media days today.. He appeared very upset and was very vocal.. Touche Mr Meyer

He also admitted that he had “given too many 2nd chances” in the past and that he did care that he didn’t have the best reputation in the area of discipline.  He also confirmed that OSU did address that in the interview process and he detailed several concrete steps he has taken to change it - including that he has a staff member monitor disciplinary actions coaches take, and that he “wants his punishments to be “as or more severe”.

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