AL HAMNIK: Buckeyes' Urban Meyer can't escape his dark past

2013-08-06T17:15:00Z 2013-09-16T18:37:12Z AL HAMNIK: Buckeyes' Urban Meyer can't escape his dark pastAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
August 06, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

Urban Meyer's speechwriter should get a raise.

No matter how sticky the situation is with Meyer's football teams, how far-reaching and serious the implications, he seems to escape unscathed.

He has a knack for talking his way out of controversy.

Are we so naive to believe Urban Meyer is actually a victim of circumstance? Or are football factories like Florida and Ohio State that vital to the NCAA fabric?

Meyer was in good form at the recent Big Ten Media Day in Chicago, gracefully ducking and dodging questions about his stormy reign at Florida that featured 30 arrests involving 27 players.

He won two national championships with the Gators and earned $18 million in six seasons while resigning twice within a year -- citing a renewed commitment to his family and actually displaying a signed contract at his final news conference calling them his No. 1 priority.

A year later, he hooked on with Ohio State.

And in July, alone, Meyer had to discipline four players for their run-ins with the law.

We're not talking about sneaking into the movies or stealing a Snickers. If only it were that harmless.

It wasn't.

Tailback Carlos Hyde allegedly assaulted a woman at a Columbus bar, but the victim declined to press charges. Meyer still suspended him the first three games against Buffalo, San Diego State and California.

Why not sit him for three conference games that really mattered? Just asking.

Cornerback Bradley Roby was charged with misdemeanor assault for striking a bouncer at a bar and two freshmen were disciplined for underage drinking.

"It drives you insane that you have to deal with such nonsense," Meyer said. "To have a couple of knuckleheads make some decisions that reflect the entire program ... bothers me, bothers our entire staff."

We won't dwell on former New England Patriots' star Aaron Hernandez, who currently is facing murder charges. He was a centerpiece of Meyer's 2008 national championship team at Florida.

"Swift, effective and fair discipline is the standard for our entire athletics program," athletic director Gene Smith said in statement. "I applaud Coach Meyer for his immediate actions."

Given his dark past at Florida, it would've been occupational suicide not to act quickly.

We're all told Urban Meyer is supposed to be this great college recruiter but, for who, the penal system?

His speechwriter was working overtime at the Big Ten gathering, where Meyer came across as the victim, believe it or not.

"Tough couple of days (with the suspensions) but I'm going to focus on the positives; positives created by tremendous momentum from last year's (12-0) team to an excellent recruiting class, positive spring practice, and one of the best academic performances in recent history at Ohio State," Meyer was quick to note.

There were reports he had blown the whistle on Florida for illegal recruiting, but he denied doing so.

"There was certainly no intent to go after Florida," he said.

Urban Meyer wants us to know he's only human and has always believed in discipline. He also asks the public to get its facts straight before throwing rocks at him.

Police reports and court cases obviously aren't to be believed.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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