NCAA FB

Meyer defends his time at Florida

Share This Story

   
 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)

In his first speaking engagement with his Big Ten coaching peers, new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had to defend what he did in his last coaching job.

Buckeye Sports
Want more in-depth coverage of Ohio State football? Check out insider information, forums and exclusive video on Buckeye Sports. Not an OSU fan? Find your team at Scout.com.

Meyer said he was disappointed by a story this week in the Sporting News which said he showed favoritism to star players during his six-year tenure at Florida and that his Gators program winked at disciplinary problems.

''When you start saying preferential treatment to players, that's probably a correct statement. We did do that. We do that here. We did it at Bowling Green and Utah,'' said Meyer, mentioning his previous coaching stops while speaking Wednesday on the Big Ten coaches spring teleconference. ''If you go to class, you're a warrior, you do things the right way off and on the field, and you're completely committed to helping us win, you're going to get treated really good.''

Meyer bristled at the inference by former players, some identified and some not, who said that there was a different set of rules for star players such as wide receiver Percy Harvin.

''I'm extremely proud of what we did down there. And throwing great players - not good players, great players - under the bus like that, I don't get the intent,'' he said. ''I'll fight for those guys, man. Those guys did a lot of great things for the University of Florida. And to sit there and call them out four or five years later, I'm not sure of the intent, once again.

''But I'll always fight for those guys.''

Meyer won two national championships at Florida but twice left the program, each time citing health issues. He retired after the 2010 season, then later took a job as a college football analyst with ESPN for a year. He was hired last November to pick up the pieces of an Ohio State program which has suffered through player suspensions and departures, NCAA sanctions and the forced resignation of coach Jim Tressel due to a memorabilia-for-money scandal.

The Buckeyes, who were 6-7 a year ago and lost their last four games including, ironically, the Gator Bowl to Florida, are on NCAA probation and have been banned from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season.

Meyer said he had talked to several former Florida players and coaches who were upset by the Sporting News story.

The story cited multiple sources who confirmed that during the 2008 season Harvin, now a member of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, physically attacked Florida wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground. It said that after Harvin was pulled off Gonzales by two assistant coaches, he was never disciplined.

Gonzales, now an offensive coordinator at Illinois, issued a statement earlier on Wednesday.

''In response to a recent story alleging an incident between Percy Harvin and me and while at Florida, the story is inaccurate,'' he said in the statement. ''It didn't happen.''

Meyer said he and his staff met or exceeded all standards in terms of graduation rate, wins, abiding by NCAA rules and recruiting quality players.

The story had said there was a ''circle of trust'' which enabled and pandered to elite players. Meyer denied it on Wednesday.

Asked if he disagreed in particular with a certain contention in the story, Meyer said, ''Oh, more than one.''

He seemed particularly upset by the inference that he and his staff had flaunted NCAA bylaws.

''I want to say this real clear: There is no violation that we had as far as that whole conversation,'' Meyer said. ''I'm not sure why that keeps coming up. So, if you would bold that for me, underline it - there is not an NCAA violation.''

Since taking the Ohio State job, Meyer has bumped heads with several Big Ten coaches - principally Wisconsin's Bret Bielema - over the recruiting of players who have already verbally committed to other Division I programs. But Bielema has said that was a misunderstanding which has been corrected.

Tagged: Kenny Guiton, Braxton Miller, Florida, Ohio State, Ohio

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash