Football Rumor Mill
What We Are Hearing Concerning Urban Meyer, the NCAA and Ohio State
By Brandon Castel
Until now, we have refrained from posting much about the Urban Meyer rumors because, frankly, we did not believe anyone really knew exactly what was going on.
That is not meant to discredit any other news outlet that has reported rumors or even made bold statements about Meyer’s future at Ohio State. We don’t know who their sources are—maybe they are speaking directly to Meyer, who happens to be a long-lost cousin.
It doesn’t matter.
A lot of things come across our desk here at the-Ozone.net, but we rarely share any of it until it can be substantiated. That’s just the way we do things.
We now feel like it is necessary to share some of what we are hearing concerning Urban Meyer, the NCAA and the future of Ohio State football. This is not breaking news. We are not making any guarantees. Let’s be clear about that. These are simply rumors with a lot of credibility, but are still rumors.
We have talked to some very highly-connected people over the last week, and here is what we were told:
There has been contact between Meyer and Ohio State, but no contract had been offered or signed as of yesterday.
It is probable that money has been discussed, which would make sense considering Meyer’s recent comments in The Gainesville Sun. Even if money has not been mentioned, those comments certainly came across as a direct communication with Ohio State: “if you want me, I’m listening, but bring your check book.”
ESPN and the Michigan Game
We are also hearing that there is fire to the smoke that Meyer was removed from this week’s Ohio State-Michigan broadcast because of his interest in coaching the Buckeyes.
Officially, ESPN is couching it as though Meyer doesn’t have time to prepare himself to call this game, but that seems a little nonsensical, especially since they plan to have him in the studio this weekend to talk about the rest of the games.
Meyer hired Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison at Florida and he knows both of these programs as well as anyone. He could show up Saturday without looking at one item this week and speak intelligently about both schools.
We are being told that Meyer was pulled from the assignment because he informed the higher-ups at ESPN that he intends to take the Ohio State job. It sounds like they don’t want it to look bad having him call the game if they have that knowledge.
The Duke Game
At some point, there was a rumor that Meyer would be introduced as the new head coach at Ohio State during halftime of the OSU-Duke basketball game on Nov. 29. Sort of like Jim Tressel at the Michigan game back in January, 2001.
The current situation is much different than that hire, and we have been told that if/when Meyer is introduced, it will most likely not be at the Duke game. First, Ohio State has not yet posted the job opening on their website. Once posted, it is supposed to remain open for nine days. We are only seven days away from the Duke game, which will take place in Columbus a week from Tuesday.
That is not the reason, however, we believe Meyer will not be introduced at the game. We have been told that Ohio State does not want to take away from their No. 3-ranked basketball team and the job that Thad Matta is doing with that program.
The Duke game is going to be one of the biggest nights this OSU program has had in a long time, and introducing Meyer as the new head coach at halftime would completely steal the spotlight from Matta and his team. It would lead Sportscenter and be on the front page of every major newspaper, pushing a potential win over Duke to page two.
Herbstreit and Spiels?
Don’t jump to believe any of the Kirk Herbstreit rumors just yet. We are being told the former Ohio State quarterback will likely not be leaving ESPN to coach the QBs at Ohio State, whether Meyer is the coach or not. The same goes for Chris Spielman and the linebackers.
If he takes the job in Columbus, we are told Meyer wants to hire a veteran coaching staff that already knows what it’s doing. He will have enough on his plate that he doesn’t want to get into having to teach these guys how to coach college athletes.
There may be some truth to the rumors that Luke Fickell could remain at Ohio State even if he isn’t given the head coaching job. We have been told that there will likely be a place on Meyer’s coaching staff for Fickell, if he wants it.
We don’t know if that means defensive coordinator, associate head coach or linebackers coach. The latter would not make a lot of sense, but we will let you draw your own conclusions. Fickell would also be free to pursue another head coaching job if he so chooses.
Gene Smith and the NCAA Ruling
Lastly, and we don’t feel as certain about this, but we have been told by a number of sources that Ohio State will likely find out their NCAA fate as early as next week. Nothing official will come out until after their Dec. 10 meeting with the NCAA, but with all their contacts, they will already know by then.
We are being told that whenever they decide to post the job opening to their website, they will already “know” what the NCAA ruling will be. The latest on what we are hearing is that the NCAA will not hit Ohio State with a bowl ban or any other major sanctions that might deter Meyer from accepting the job in Columbus.
Nothing that has happened so far, including the Failure to Monitor' charge has caught them by surprise.
As for Gene Smith’s fate, we have heard multiple conflicting reports from many different sources about his future at Ohio State. No one seems to know for certain how the University is going to proceed with their current Athletic Director. Those rumors range from him being let go by the end of the year to his being reassigned within the athletic department.
None of the rumors seem credible enough yet, especially as Ohio State awaits that final ruling from the NCAA.
Again, remember, this report is not a prophecy about the future. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen with Ohio State’s football program. Let’s be clear that these are indeed rumors. We are not here to confirm that Meyer will be the next head coach at Ohio State. We wouldn’t do that until something is official.
We would rather be last and be right, then mislead anyone. It certainly looks like Urban Meyer will be the next head coach, but we also know how quickly these type of things can fall apart, especially when big money and big egos are involved.
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