Is Urban Meyer Teaching Character and Leadership Class an Onion Headline??
So, Ohio State and/or Urban Meyer is punking everyone this Christmas season, right? Surely that is the only explanation for headlines saying Meyer's new role at Ohio State after his retirement will be teaching a class in "Character and Leadership".
Mind you, I don't know Urban Meyer, I've met him a couple odd times and have interviewed him during his days coaching at the University of Florida.
And I've followed the bizarre, albeit successful record he had as a Football Coach who appears, based on reports to be a decent leader, but seemingly bereft of character in regards to certain issues.
In Gainesville it was his lack of discipline for MULTIPLE players who broke the law...or at least skirted it. Meyer either overlooked or compartmentalized issues with "Star" players such as Aaron Hernandez, Percy Harvin and Janoris Jenkins--all who would have been suspended by most programs or coaches---but not by Meyer.
30 arrests in 6 season. Players who failed drug tests listed as "Injured" instead of suspended and discipline handed out to non-starters and bench players but not to starters all contributed to a near implosion that rather than deal with, Meyer claimed "Health Issues" and just walked away only to land a couple months later at ESPN where he railed against the very things he practiced.
Just one year removed from Florida, Meyer would land at Ohio State and to his credit---helped rebuild the program there. Nobody, me included, questions his abilities as a coach--the guy has had success everywhere he's ever coached.
It's the "LACK" of character shown in off-field decisions that makes everyone say "What?"....
Perhaps the biggest question over character decisions---Meyer's now well documented brush off of former Assistant Coach Zack Smith's domestic issues and off field problems. We all know now, Smith had a turbulent and abusive relationship with his ex-wife dating back to 2008-09 when Smith was on Meyer's staff at Florida.
Meyer allegedly had people intervene to protect Smith after his wife filed and eventually dropped Assault Charges then---a pattern of behavior that continued off an on for nearly a decade and coming to a head in 2018 when Meyer finally was forced to fire Smith and served a 3-game suspension for "Not Upholding the Values of the University" when he did not report the issue correctly.
All which leads to an begs the question----How does someone with this background become qualified to "Co-Teach" a class at the Ohio State business school about "Character and Leadership"?? Seriously, I want to know the thought process here. How does a guy with this kind of past qualify as someone to help College Students make character based decisions? Meyer isn't someone who's made A mistake over his professional career---he's got a pretty extensive track record of overlooking character issues in the name of winning and acting like he and he alone is someone who can "Save" a damaged employee (Smith) with a frighteningly obvious problem.
Yeah, I know, he's Urban Meyer and he won football games at Ohio State. And yeah, I get it, in today's world---it no longer matters the type of person you are as long as you win and bring in money. It's just me getting on my high horse and trying to remind anyone who might stumble across this column that doing the "Right" thing should matter, it should count for something.
Then again, these days---maybe it doesn't....