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An Incomplete Timeline of Urban Meyer’s B.S.

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By Ryan Paul –

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson used to say that there were different rules for Troy Aikman than there were for other players on the team. “I can’t be writing what the rules are because my rules vary from player to player,” Jimmy said. “In Dallas we had a linebacker named John Roper who got cut for falling asleep in a meeting. If Troy Aikman fell asleep in a meeting, I’d go over and whisper, `Wake up, Troy.’ ”

People laughed and nodded at the underlying truth that Johnson was speaking, failing to see the harm and balefulness in the statement that just came out of the mouth of one of the most successful pro and college coaches of all time.

In today’s game, football coaches are still cut from the same feigned cloth, but now it is administrators and coaches being held to different standards.

Urban Meyer is the latest in a long line of football coaches to not hold himself to the standards that he preaches to his players. Meyer has never really been held to task for his scandalous tenure at the University of Florida, nor has his time at Ohio State come under much scrutiny at all. The alleged robberies, the alleged shootings, and now this latest stain on a program that he heads, none of it has been properly addressed and answered for, despite the unalienable fact that it should’ve been.

Every school Meyer has worked at has been a public university and he has been one of the highest paid employees at every one of the state schools he’s worked at and, yet, questions continually go unanswered and the buck gets passed on to players, parents and institutions.

But people definitely have not forgotten. As evidenced by the exposes and specials being done recently, no one has forgotten Urban Meyer’s notorious reign at the University of Florida and ever since Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder, fans have been wondering what is going on with Urban Meyer programs and longing for a potentially lurid peek behind the curtain.

This timeline is a peak behind the curtain, and though incomplete, will definitely be eye opening for people who may not be familiar with Meyer’s alleged enabling management style.

2005 – Meyer declares that Notre Dame “has always been his dream job.” Shortly after making the declaration, he turns down his dream job to be the next coach of the University of Florida, a school that paid him more money and had far lower standards of admission for players.

LATE 2007/EARLY 2008 – One of Urban Meyer’s favorite players at Florida, tight end Aaron Hernandez, is questioned in connection with a shooting in Gainesville. According to the Orlando Centinel, “Hernandez was among four former Gator football players who were questioned in connection with a September 2007 Gainesville shooting. The Pouncey twins and former safety Reggie Nelson also spoke to police. But Hernandez, just 17 at the time of the incident, fit the description of the man who fired five shots into a car, wounding both passengers.” Like most investigations into Florida football players at the time, nothing comes of the investigation. All four players investigated “Go Pro” in the NFL.

11/2008 – Florida Gators backup quarterback Cam Newton was arrested on felony charges of stealing a laptop from another student. ESPN reported on the story saying, “According to University Police Department, Newton stole the laptop worth $1,700 and threw it out his dormitory window Friday when officers arrived to investigate the theft.” Throwing the laptop out of a window easily should’ve added a destruction of property charge to the felony theft charge. According to the New York Times, Newton also was facing suspension or expulsion due to three accusations of academic cheating.  By all accounts, Newton was never suspended or expelled, saying publicly many times that he left on his own due to starter Tim Tebow returning for his senior season. The charges were later dropped.

11/2010 – Meyer left the University of Florida for a one year gig at ESPN, and on his way out the door he declares the program “broken”.  He fails to mention that the program was broken by him, due to a lack of leadership on his part, and that it is broken because, as a former player put it, “Over the last two years he was there the players had taken complete control of the team.”

12/2011 – Meyer began recruiting for his new employer, Ohio State. He goes hard after potential Florida commits. Part of his pitch to players considering Florida is no so much a pitch as it is an undercutting and an admission of guilt. He allegedly tells wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who is considering both Florida and Ohio State, “he wouldn’t let Diggs go to Florida because of significant character issues in the locker room.” Even granting a pass to Meyer using the terminology, “wouldn’t LET Diggs go to Florida” he shockingly again uses the chaos at Florida to his advantage while failing to mention that he was the man responsible for said issues. In the end Diggs chose Maryland instead of Florida and Ohio State, and went on to the NFL.

6/2013 – Former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez is arrested and later found guilty of the murder of Odin Lloyd. According to Rolling Stone, “Since 2007, he’s been charged with, or linked to, the shootings of six people in four incidents.” The article goes on to say that Hernandez got out of charges for rupturing a man’s eardrum in a 2007 fight. “We didn’t hear that story till much, much later – the police didn’t file a report,” says a local reporter who was covering the team. As a sophomore, Hernandez was benched for the season opener, meaning he’d likely failed drug tests over the summer. But Meyer denied it, saying he “wasn’t ready to play,” again giving cover for bad behavior. “Meyer kept us at such a distance,” says the reporter, “or flat-out lied, that we couldn’t verify a pot suspension.” This type of obfuscation makes quantifying the suspensions and fully understanding the crimes committed by Florida players under Urban Meyer impossible.

11/2013 – Meyer got a juicy opportunity to change his ways and become a legitimate disciplinarian running a legitimate program in a game against Michigan. Ohio State was ranked #3 in the nation and Michigan was unranked. His nationally ranked team was losing and apparently getting frustrated by this fact because they inexplicably caused an unnecessary brawl that resulted in starting guard Marcus Hall and two other players being ejected. According to the News-Herald ,after the ejection, “Hall went berserk — kicking things, throwing his helmet and, on his way out, giving the Michigan fans a double one-fingered salute that was captured for national television and posterity.” Most viewers thought urely this embarrassment inflicted upon the students, fans, alumni and the institution as a whole would not go unpunished but Meyer again did nothing in the way of discipline for or to his players. Unfortunately for people hoping to see a new and improved Meyer, he likely never considered any suspensions for Hall or anybody else, because the Ohio State Buckeyes won that game against Michigan and had an even bigger game the next week against Michigan State for the Big Ten title. Ohio State, with all of their players, lost that game anyway 34-24 and Meyer sent a message to the world that day of what he is, was and always will be about.

7/2018 – On July 23, 2018, three days after his wife Courtney filed for an order of protection, Ohio State fired wide receivers coach Zach Smith. On the surface, this would seem very proactive of Urban Meyer but in reality he was in spin control mode already.

The day after Smith was fired, Meyer wondered aloud why Brett McMurphy, a reporter for ESPN who broke the news, would “create such a story.” Smith likely never would’ve been disciplined or fired without McMurphy’s reporting.

McMurphy was the true catalyst for all the proactive behavior in this incident. His reporting found that, “In June 2009, Zach Smith was arrested for aggravated battery on a pregnant victim after allegedly throwing Courtney Smith into a wall after an argument at their home in Gainesville, Florida, where Zach was working for Meyer with the University of Florida football program. Courtney Smith dropped the charges, saying Meyer’s close friend Hiram deFries and mentor Earle Bruce, the former Ohio State coach and Zach’s grandfather, encouraged her not to pursue legal action. Meyer said last month at Big Ten media days that he knew about the 2009 incident and that he and his wife, Shelley, had reached out to Zach and Courtney and encouraged them to seek counseling. Zach Smith remained on staff at Florida. When Meyer landed the Ohio State job in November 2011, he hired Smith as wide receivers coach.”

The truth of the matter is that Smith has apparently been beating on his wife, for the entire time, that he was employed by Meyer.  In 2009, Smith was just an intern with Florida. Any other intern would surely be fired.

It would seem that Meyer put his relationship with mentor Earle Bruce ahead of doing the right thing. And, According to Bill Landis at Cleveland.com, in addition to Smith’s history of domestic violence documented in 2009 from his time at the University of Florida, Ohio police issued nine (!) reports involving domestic disputes between Smith and his ex-wife Courtney from  January 1, 2012 to July 26, 2018.

This makes it nearly impossible to believe Urban Meyer when he says he had no knowledge of the domestic violence incident in 2015.

While enabling this behavior is justification enough for the firing of Urban Meyer, his offensive attack on McMurphy, compounded exponentially by the fact that he came out and denied any knowledge of an incidents, should make his firing all but inevitable.

8/2/18 – While seemingly caught red-handed in a lie, Meyer continues to negotiate behind the scenes and let the situation drag on, leaving Ohio State alumni, his players, fans and even possibly his family and friends hanging in limbo. Meyer is no doubt hoping his delay, deflect and do-nothing tactics, which have truly served him well professionally and financially, can pull off one more miracle at the final whistle. What he is failing to realize is that this was always going to be the end of his story. He is the same guy he was over a decade ago at Florida, the same guy he was on that cold day in November 2013, and that is truly a shame.

URBAN MEYER’S 2018 BIG 10 PRESS DAY INTERVIEW

BRETT MCMURPHY SPEAKING ON URBAN MEYER/ZACH SMITH SITUATION

JOHN FEINSTEIN DECLARING IN 2013 THAT URBAN MEYER IS EVERYTHING WRONG WITH COLLEGE SPORTS

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