alternate headline: man does job
I come not to question Urban Meyer's credentials as a football coach. At any other university I think he'd take the team right back to the top. But not at Ohio, and here's why.
Meyer has been followed by professional and ethical controversies (33 players arrested at Florida, quitting-coming back-and-quitting again, rampant rumors of an affair with a 23 year-old grad student, suspending Brandon Spikes one half for an eye gouge, etc.). Do you think Ohio will stand for that? Not a chance.
If we know one thing about that university and its fans, it's that winning is nice, but it's meaningless if you don't win the right way. Jim Tressel won games, but remember how hard the fans came down on him after they learned Maurice Clarrett was given illegal benefits? Tressel was lucky to keep his job, and Ohio fans are still reluctant to talk about the 2002 championship, ashamed that they won by cheating.
Who can forget Gordon Gee's response when Tressel's latest scandal broke? When asked if Tressel could be fired, Gee famously responded, "It's definitely possible. Winning football games will always come second to integrity at Ohio State." A maxim that administrators and fans have lived by for years, and one that will not be welcoming to Meyer.
Ohio further solidified their commitment to winning the right way in their complete and total cooperation with the resulting NCAA investigation. "If we did anything wrong, we will suffer the consequences that are justly coming to us," Gee said, and fans agreed. At no point did they try to coverup transgressions or skirt their responsibilites. And while it's true they lead the NCAA in infractions, that just means they have a great compliance program, somehow.
Ohio fans have long been known as the most humble, classiest fans in sports and I think we can all agree the title is well-deserved. We've all heard stories of Michigan fans being greeted with a warm welcome in Columbus, Ohio fans offering their finest microbrews to their guests from the north. These fans are in no way dead-eyed, slack-jawed, mouth-breathing sub-morons, equally proud of their GEDs and Truck Nutz. But I don't have to tell you that.
Woody Hayes once punched a kid in the throat, but it's not like they continue to deify the guy.
In conclusion, Meyer's shady tactics would play well at a lot of schools over the country, but not Ohio, my friends... not Ohio. With an athletic department that stresses honesty, integrity, and accountability, and a fanbase who would rather lose every game than sell out their principles, Meyer will not last long.
Eh... Maybe he'll be fine.