Gene Smith Responds to Bielema
Not long after Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez essentially told his coach to "chill", Ohio State AD Gene Smith released a statement backing his coach and laying out the proper way to handle grievances in the Big Ten:
I am disappointed that negative references have been made about our football coaches, and particularly head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting. In our league appropriate protocol, if you have concerns, is to share those concerns with your Athletic Director (AD). Then your AD will make the determination on the appropriate communication from that point forward. The ADs in our league are professionals and communicate with each other extremely well. Urban Meyer and his staff have had a compliance conscience since they have arrived.
This, of course, follows a statement Meyer made earlier Friday:
I was pleased to take part in a productive, regularly scheduled meeting of the Big Ten Conference coaches today in Chicago. We had an opportunity to discuss a number of issues with each other and conference staff, including those that have arisen this week.
It should be noted that my coaching staff is in full compliance with our recruiting efforts, and no one on this staff did anything illegal or unethical. We will continue to comply with NCAA rules and recruit with relentless effort, especially the great state of Ohio.
I want to thank commissioner Delany for his insight and leadership, and at this point we all look forward to moving past this week and getting ready for the start of spring football.
If you're keeping score at home, we now have Urban Meyer, Gene Smith, Barry Alvarez and Brady Hoke on one side, with Bret Bielema on the other. Nice move, Bret.