Sunday, January 15, 2012

Urban Meyer Poaching the Irish as National Signing Day Approaches

Sure, every coach and college football program recruits players committed to other teams. After all, a verbal commitment is merely that - verbal - until National Signing Day on February 1st, when recruits in the Class of 2012 can begin signing letters of intent to play college football for their chosen programs. As a Fighting Irish fan, I had been ecstatic about the incoming class, which is excellent by any measure. Any excitement I had has now been destroyed by the new resident douchebag in Columbus, Urban Liar. Er, Urban Meyer. Regardless, Meyer has caused destruction to Notre Dame recruiting in his usual sleazy ways, stealing two coaches and one recruit already.

Urban "Liar" Meyer, the shadiest man in a shady sport
Normally, when you lose a recruit or player to an opposing school, you try not to take it too personally. Well at least for long. But the way Meyer recruits is to create personal enemies everywhere he goes. Now, the ESPN propaganda machine will disagree. They'll interrupt all regularly scheduled programming to show you his Ohio State introductory news conference, where it's all smiles about what a good man Meyer is. Deep down, however, this is a man who consistently wins because he has forgotten anything there is to know about ethics. And in today's college football world, that's the name of the game. Wonder why the SEC wins all the championships? Sure, they get great athletes, but so do schools like Texas, USC, and Oregon. No, the SEC makes winning the only important thing and allows academics to take a back seat. Want to oversign your recruiting classes well beyond NCAA limits and just wait until some of them don't qualify? Come on down to Tuscaloosa or Oxford. Want to randomly cut players whenever you want to meet scholarship limits? Athens and Auburn are waiting. Want to let football take priority over any criminal transgression? Baton Rouge and Gainsville are your shrines. And want to completely fall ass backwards trying not to meet basic academic standards for your athletes? Look no further than Columbia, South Carolina.

What's my point here? Meyer cut his national-stage teeth at Florida, a recent SEC powerhouse where he won two NCAA Championships. While there, he won his first championship with the help of Ron Zook's recruits, who occupied 20 out of the 22 starting positions on that first National Championship team. And he won his second title with the Tebowner at quarterback. What else did he do there? How about at least 31 players getting arrested in 6 years? Meyer never once took it seriously enough to curb any problems. All he cared about was recruiting stud athletes, regardless of character or academic aspirations, to help him win championships.

The limits to his shady recruiting knew no bounds. This is especially evident with his first retirement from Florida, where he retired for "health reasons" but then came back within days. Although any rational human being would consider his actions strange, Meyer decided to use this as a recruiting strategy. While recruiting Sharrif Floyd, the number 1 defensive tackle recruit in the country in 2010, Meyer told him that he had a dream that he was coming back to coach Floyd and win national championships, his health be damned. The quote, from one of Floyd's coaches:
"Sharrif was really confused and put a call into Coach Meyer. When they spoke Coach Meyer told him that he had a ‘dream' the night before, and that Coach Meyer saw himself on the sideline coaching Sharrif. Told him that is was a 'message from God that I should come back and coach, as I guess if it's my time to die, I'd rather die on the sidelines coaching you than anywhere else in the world."
Floyd subsequently committed to Florida. Seriously, wow. This is college recruiting. Are you kidding me?! How much of a complete scumbag sleazeball do you have to be to pull this off? Well, for Urban "Liar" Meyer, it's just another day at the office.

Meyer visiting ND this summer for ESPN. Who knew this was a trip to get insider info.
When it came to Notre Dame, I wasn't too concerned when Meyer got hired, for various reasons. One, I figured that Meyer would be going head to head more with Brady Hoke at Michigan and other Big Ten schools for Ohio and midwest recruits. Sure, ND recruits in the Midwest, but they even moreso pull recruits from all over the country every year. Secondly, Brian Kelly coached in Ohio before and had established relationships with many of the high school coaches and players there. And thirdly, Meyer visited ND, a school he had coached for, over the summer for ESPN and got a deep in depth look at how Brian Kelly runs the program. So even when Meyer came in and abruptly stole two Notre Dame coaches, I was somehow still convinced that he hadn't been setting it up all along to take shots at Notre Dame recruits.

Taylor Decker, the latest Meyer flip
It was only today, when the recruiting drama surrounding manchild Taylor Decker came to an end with Decker dropping his Notre Dame verbal commitment to pledge to Ohio State. Decker was one of the earlier ND commits, pledging in the Spring of 2011. He was an Ohio kid that for some reason wasn't recruited much by Ohio State despite being 6'8, 280 pounds with the ability to grow into a dominating player. ND saw his potential though, being one of the first major programs to offer him, and Decker committed, not just to his position coach Ed Warriner and head coach Brian Kelly, but to the university that could offer him a 40 year plan, not just a 4 year plan. Decker was considered one of the more solid commitments in the entire class, reaffirming his commitment time and time again. When Meyer was initially hired, he again reaffirmed his commitment. When Meyer stole his position coach and head recruiter from ND, Decker came out YET AGAIN and said he was solid to ND, explicitly stating that he had committed to Kelly and the university, not just his position coach. Yet there he was this weekend, taking an official visit to Ohio State, and boom, wouldn't you know it - he drops the Irish for Ohio State. When asked why, he said something along the lines of "I just figured it out." Figured what out?! In one weekend, you figured that your nearly year long commitment to Kelly and THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME wasn't right for you? No, I don't believe that nonsense for a second. This was simply the work of Urban Meyer for you. When a guy like Meyer, with zero ethics, recruits against a guy with integrity like Kelly, who's going to win? Meyer will the vast majority of the time.

Yeah, I'm an ND homer. And yeah, I'm pissed. But what does this say about the state of college football, a supposedly AMATEUR sport? And more importantly, what does this mean for those in Big Ten country who don't like this sort of thing? We're used to traditional football here, with big time programs who play by the rules (let's forget PSU for a minute) and churn out real student-athletes. We hate the shady tactics being used by the deplorable academic institutions in the SEC. Well, we better wake up. Good ole Urban Meyer has brought those tactics home to our area, to the perfect kind of school that would condone that sort of thing. Ohio State and Urban Meyer are a match made in heaven, two unethical schools who bend any sort of rules to get that extra defensive back, or offensive linemen, or wide receiver, that can take the university to new heights and bring back that big BCS paycheck. And really, that's all that schools like OSU and the SEC schools, and coaches like Meyer care about. The simple fact that these are all ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS doesn't matter to them. And for a school like Notre Dame, which follows academic, ethical, and NCAA rules strictly, it could mean they get left in the dust for many recruits, including the Taylor Deckers of the world who buy the used car salesman rhetoric that Meyer sells. I wish that Meyer would leave his pulpit-like crap out of everything, but he can't, and he won't: he's the poster child of the New NCAA.


Anonymous said...

maybe he saw ND play in the national championship..heh heh.