As Florida Gator football fans that bleed orange and blue, Urban Myer has been a sort of legend in my household. Although they weren't back-to-back, Meyer still led the Florida Gators to two National Championships during my childhood – he became more of a hero to me than my dad (sorry, dad). Even my middle school hand-me-down iPhone lit up to an inspirational Urban Meyer quote, one that I look at now and wonder what I could've ever been thinking. When he retired from the game for health and family reasons, my heart was crushed, and tears rolled down my face – would this be the end of Florida football as I knew it? So far, yes. I was even more devastated to learn that Urban Meyer decided to unretire and lead the Ohio State Buckeyes. At 14-years-old, still passionately wearing my orange and blue cheerleading uniform, I wanted to know, how could Meyer be such a traitor?
Little did I know, just a few years later, I would be asking the same question and many more that further involved Meyer's slimy personality.
The story begins as many of you might imagine: It was my first night home from a long summer, and my dad's first dinner table topic of conversation was, yep! You guessed it! Urban Meyer. More involved in passing my classes than following the latest coaching scandals, I had no idea that such a thing was of any interest to the rest of American dad's out there. I blew the conversation off, practically not listening to my dad (again, sorry, dad). Meyer's name began to repeat at the dinner table, getting both of my parents more heated with each mention of his name. After a few nights and a few sightings in the newspaper, I figured it was finally time to get involved and learn why my dad was going on and on. He hadn't talked this much in practically a year!
For those of you who don't know, Urban Meyer was recently put on administrative leave from Ohio State University, where he served as the head coach for the Buckeyes football team. In the beginning, little was known about Meyer's situation. Some claimed that Urban Meyer's leave was Ohio State University, OSU, being "too proactive" as it happened at the heels of the recent news release on the sexual abuse scandal that occurred on the gymnastics and wrestling teams at OSU. All my dad thought was that Urban Meyer had maybe known about one of his assistant coaches physically hurting his wife many years ago – how could this lead to one of the greatest coaches, a shoe-in hall-of-famer, to administrative leave? There had to be more to the story, and yes there was – a horrifying load of truth that seemed to be hidden behind all of the signed footballs, trophies, and millions of dollars.
Ladies here are some reasons that can help your dad see you as the credible college girl you are in this Urban Meyer debate:
1. Meyer is a LIAR.
After taking Zach Smith, a then intern, under his wing at UF, Meyer has stood beside him and even brought Smith to work under him at OSU. At Big Ten Media Days 2018 – a day where the top men in college football come out to let the media in on the upcoming season's greatest predictions – Meyer lied straight to press. Meyer quickly announced that he was aware of the abuse that occurred in 2009 but had no knowledge of the reoccurrence in 2015. The information Meyer reported was inaccurate and impersonal. Quoting Meyers, he seems to work solely by what is "in the best interest of [the] team" (CBSSports.com). Forget justice.
2. Meyer's contract must've been misplaced in all the money.
When Meyer signed with Ohio State, his contract stated that any violations of university rules committed by assistant coaches must be reported and failing to do so could result in termination (ESPN.com). In April, the contract was rewritten and resigned – foreshadowing anyone? This revised contract stated that any violations committed by OSU staff members to the sexual misconduct policy be immediately reported to the Title IX coordinator. Additionally, Meyers, like all OSU employees, was required to report knowledge of domestic abuse by a fellow university employee. I would assume the same policy and requirements held true at the University of Florida. Umm…want to say anything, Urban Meyer?
3. For Urban Meyer, success is more important than justice.
Why else would Meyer not have reported the domestic abuse? After the 2009 incident, Meyer began to counsel Smith, a fact Meyer did admit. And what a fabulous job he did…not! After the 2015 event, Smith's wife, Courtney, filed for a divorce and a restraining order against her husband. In a very recent article published on ESPN.com, it states that Meyer's special assistant at OSU and confidant for many years, Hiram DeFries, told Courtney not to pursue charges back in 2009. DeFries is reported advising Courtney, "If you don't drop the charges, Zach will never coach again. He's never hit you before. He was drinking. He'll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance." Now did these words come from DeFries or from Meyer's thirst to win?… Your guess is as good as mine.
4. Crooks and killers, Meyer has hid them all.
From 2005 to 2010, the years that Urban Meyer served as head coach of the Florida Gators, at least thirty-one players were arrested (NBCSports.com). After avoiding charges while playing under Meyers and being thrown out of school by Meyer's successor, Will Muschamp, Jenkins stated that "If Coach Meyer were still coaching, I'd still be playing for the Gators. Coach Meyer knows what it takes to win" – yet another supporting reason that for Meyer, success is more important than justice. There's not even time now to shed light on Aaron Hernandez, a star tight end on the 2008 title-winning Gators, who went on to be found guilty of murder during his career with the New England Patriots. So while 65 wins might be a significant number in five years, is it worth anything with the resounding 31?
Even just these four reasons make me question how I ever looked up to him. But wait, did I forget to mention that Meyer's administrative leave is paid? Meyers, pre-leave, was expected to make $7.6 million in the 2018 football season.
Ohio State may still be investigating, but as a young female who stands for both women's rights and justice, I think the answer is pretty clear – fire Meyer.
For obvious reasons, OSU is in no rush to get rid of him. They would lose millions between lawsuits and negative press for the $100 million program (Forbes.com). On top of it all, they would be letting go of their prized coach, who is said to be the second-best coach in all of college football history, just second to Alabama's Nick Saban.
Something is undoubtedly fishy to me, but, ladies and all the lads out there supporting justice, let's keep our fingers crossed for the best outcome. And, might I add, Meyer is no longer even on a list of potential heroes for me.