Urban Meyer is a Recruit Burglar

By Jason Priestas on April 2, 2012 at 6:21p

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Is it Saturday Yet's picture

As a guy who is a fan of unwritten social rules, like staying the f out of the fast lane if you aren't passing someone, I'm having a hard time accepting this when I didn't like Dick Rod for the same behavior. Please help me change my mind. His in public insults of current players, SEC attitude, and "stealing" recruits paints a picture. I want to love our coach. Like I did Tress. Give me something to love. Tell me I'm being stupid, but back it up so I can be excited for football. Thnx.

William's picture

When has he ever insulted a player? Also the whole stealing recruit thing is overblown. Want to know why the SEC has won 6 straight, because their coaches have balls and know how to effing recruit. 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Their coaches are also slimeballs.  You can have testicular fortitude without acting like an @$$hole or snake.  I just prefer someone who handles oneself with humility.  Maybe I'm not looking for it enough with Meyer.

Dean's picture

I think a reason that a lot of people, myself included, are fans of unwritten rules is because they promote efficient behavior - to use an example near and dear to my heart, on escalators into a subway, if people stand on the right and walk on the left, people who are in a hurry to catch their train can do so at a minimal cost to people who aren't in a hurry (a little less personal space, maybe, or having to wait a moment before getting on the right side of the escalator).  The difference between recruiting and an escalator is that on an escalator, there isn't someone on the other side who actively wants people to stand on the right.

In this regard, then, a better analogy would be all the employers in town (coaches) getting together to agree not to "poach" one another's employees (obviously, players).  Generally, this has the effect of keeping wages down, but given that that doesn't really apply to college football, imagine that all the employers pay the same wages and offer similar benefits.  The firms still have different firm cultures (what's the coach like? what is the locker room atmosphere?), offer varying levels of opportunity for internal promotion (how hard is it to become a starter? Are you coming in behind an entrenched freshman, or an outgoing senior?), and different opportunities once you leave (how many guys does the firm send to the NFL? Do even the backups get drafted?).  Many of these differences are difficult to observe without inside knowledge of the firms, and the agreement prevents employers from communicating these differences to employees of other firms.  These employees, because they lack information about these other firms, end up working for the "wrong" firm - that is, one that may have superficially looked like what they wanted, but turned out to be a poor fit for them, or simply not the best fit.

You can see how this would happen in college football recruiting.  High school players begin with very limited information about the schools they might attend.  They start talking to a couple of coaches, and one school starts to sound good enough that they make an early commitment because they think that the relatively high costs of searching more (constant calls from coaches, time and money spent on school visits, stress) outweigh the expected benefit they might get from finding a better fit.  It turns out, though, that the better fit finds them, and they switch.

Of course, an objection could be that players commit to get away from all the constant recruiting, and disregarding these gentlemen's agreements prevents them from being able to avoid all those costs that I mentioned above.  This is a possibility, but I think that it is most likely that, if a committed recruit tells a coach who calls him that he's just not interested, that coach will see that continuing to contact the recruit won't increase the chances that the recruit will flip, but just annoy the recruit.  This happened in the last few months with one recruit whose name I don't remember (was it Kalis?) - Meyer called him, he said, "Not interested," and Meyer never called him back.  Beyond that, once word gets out that a recruit is very solidly committed, coaches won't bother him anymore.  The cost to committed recruits who don't want to be bothered is real, but I think it is easy to overstate it.

Ultimately, for me, it comes down to the fact that these players are committing to play somewhere for 3-5 years, and once they pick, they're mostly stuck (one year of eligibility is a lot to lose to transfer).  Anything that restricts their ability to make the best choice for themselves needs a better reason for being than just, "It's the polite thing to do."

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

"If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying."

Not that I think this is cheating in any form, but it does open the door for other B1G schools to behave the same way without consequence.  I think Rich Rod saw this as an opportunity to gain an advantage as does Meyer.  It's not the worst thing Meyer could have done, it's just all adding up to my impressions of the guy.  

Dean's picture

Certainly it opens the door for other schools to try to poach our recruits, but the point is that a world where every coach does this is a big improvement from the recruits' perspective over a world where no coaches do it.  Sure, it may be a little harder for the coaches, since they'll have to work to keep their committed recruits interested, but getting all that information to recruits results in better outcomes for them, i.e. making better decisions as to where to spend their next few years.

At the very least, given that the NCAA system is almost entirely about the schools' interests rather than the players', the recruiting process should be about the kids' interests more than the coaches' and the schools.  Basically, if you're going to lock a kid in to a school and let that school make a ton of money off of him, let the schools work to get him so that the kid can make the best choice as to which school gets the benefit of his play.

BuckeyeJim's picture

I agree that we should hold ourselves to higher standards with dignity and character. I don't like for our team or university to get tagged with uncomplimentary claims. In the real world, things like this go on quite a bit. My friend's job was a headhunter. That was a dog eat dog job. Urban is not breaking rules, but I hate the talk that is probably going on behind our backs. I might just be too sensitive, but I like Urban's results.

faux_maestro's picture

Have we ever had a recruit flipped AWAY from the Buckeyes by a school from another conference? My opinion is that the supposed "gentlemans agreement" between B1G coaches (though it sounds like it didn't really exist) didn't prevent other schools from other conferences from flipping our commits so why handicap ourselves.

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Saturday, your points are completely valid and I agree with you on many of them. Coach Meyer is not perfect like our fans like to think and they like to forget and turn a blind eye to some of Meyer's past and current actions. One thing I will say, though, is that this "stealing recruits" thing is bogus and is a non-issue. Kids have ALWAYS been open recruits until they sign an LOI, even in the Big Ten.

With all of that being said, Meyer is a machine oiled for winning. He WILL win here at Ohio State. I am ridiculously excited for that, but I don't expect to ever be endeared to Meyer as I was Coach Tressel.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Public insults may not capture what he's done, but openly criticizing players may be more accurate. 

He is very different than Tress and comes off as brash and egotistical.  I prefer the humble behavior.  Regardless, as long as I see the kids growing from his leadership and it's obvious he puts the kids first, then I will feel differently.

I thought his actions recruiting kids that were OSU leans to begin with, that coaches stole once OSU got the NCAA hammer, was perfectly fine.  I think the part that bothers me is that Tress didn't stoop to this behavior.  He seemed to have more class when it came to this sort of thing.  He seemed to earn the respect from the other B1G coaches other than JoPa who may or may not covered up for a pedophile.  Maybe I'm just not over losing Tress as the coach.

Buck_Michigan's picture

Saturday...I completely agree that Tress and Meyer are definitely two different people in terms of their approach to coaching and recruiting but what I see as a stark contrast is how each coach treated/treats their public persona. 

Tressel always was thought of as "the senator" squeaky clean, never would say a bad thing about anything, everybodies friend...but as we learned this was not the case.  Tressel was no different than any other coach at premier colleges known for elite football programs.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love JT and I hate what happened to him, but the old addage that the cover up is worse than the crime certainly is relevant here.  JT should have dropped the good guy/politician persona and just owned it.  I don't hate JT for what he did.  When you are the HC at tOSU you live on the line between right and wrong...thats what winners do.  Was he a cheater heck no but he did do some things wrong.

Now Meyer on the other hand is a brash over the top coach.  Meyer could be considered a rock star coach.  Meyer pulls no punches and calls it as he sees it.  Meyer will never be considered a "the senator" or politically correct but he owns his actions.  Meyer is driven to win.  He will do everything in his power within the guidelines of the NCAA to make tOSU the best team in the land.  Will there be some casualties along the way in terms of hurt feelings and hurt egos of other coaches?  Yes...but make no mistake it in the long run this will help the B1G.  I believe Meyer is paving a new path to elevate our conference...and lets face it.  The B1G is far behind SEC/Big 12 maybe even PAC 12.  At the end of the day Meyer will own it and make no apologies other than he put his heart and soul into making tOSU the #1 football program in America. 

2012 Beat Michigan Tail gate:  UFM:  "Let’s beat the sh*t out of Michigan, have a good night."

DMcDougal24's picture

My thoughts.. I am not upset at all that Urban continues to contact players that have soft commitments. The most important thing for me is that if the players do not want to hear from Urban, he admitted that he would no longer contact them. Therefore, where is the harm? 

If your answer is the other programs, I think that's easy to solve too. The other thing for me is that other schools will do (and have done) the same thing to us. We just had Kalis "taken" last year by another Big Ten school and I guarantee that ttun, wisconsin, or anyone else in the Big Ten would love to get a couple of our current commits.

Denny's picture

Brash and egotistical aren't end-all indicators, but they're pretty common character traits in those who get shit done. Meyer is pretty much the polar opposite of Tressel in just about every possible way (aside from caring about his guys), and it's going to take some getting used to. But results speak volumes, and I'm not going to lament having a coach that's going to work his ass off to have the best football team possible.

I miss Tressel too, but all this hand-wringing about a poached recruit is a bit much.


hodge's picture

"Meyer is pretty much the polar opposite of Tressel in just about every possible way (aside from caring about his guys)"

The irony is that this statement also applies to our beloved Woody Hayes.  Dude was so obsessed with recruiting that he would push kids to Notre Dame, just so he wouldn't have to play them.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

+1. Last time I checked, Urban is in the business of winning games for OSU. He's not in the business of writing respect and etiquette books. Early buzz is that the players LOVE the new tone of the program. Who are we to say, "Now Urban, I really don't condone your actions." Please.

FLBuckeye's picture

Stoop to his behavior?!?! Huh??? I have not seen one negative aspect in Urban Meyer's behavior thus far. He even said it himself, all he does is call the player, see if they're interested and if they're not he moves on. If they are interested and Urban wants the guy, he better recruit him! It would be an injustice to that player if they were going to be going to a school that they truly did not want to attend. Every player is open to be recruited until that LOI is signed and the way Urban has went about it is the way it should be done. 

In respect to speaking of players, all I've heard is constant praise for those players who deserve it. I have not heard one hurtful remark about a specific player, just things they need to work on, the same things he's telling them in practice. He's a football coach, he's supposed to motivate and get the very best out of every kid. Just because he doesn't have the sweater vest style doesn't mean his methods are any less honorable, too be honest I like the changes a lot more. The players love that there is a winner and loser to every competition and those that are doing poorly are motivated to perform better. I think it was Shazier who said Meyer's practices are much more intense and Tressel's were laid back in respect to these. That's the way it's supposed to be! That way when you travel to Arizona you win by 27 instead of the other way around.

This is a man that cares deeply about his family and the Buckeye family, just as much as Tressel. He's a Buckeye through and through. And better yet he's a winner and has the mentality to go with it. 

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Stoop to this behavior = taking committed recruits

His public exclamations of not having explosive talent are insulting. I'm completely cool with breaking a guy down and rebuilding them within the team. There is a reason I joined the Marines and no other branches were considered. I fully embrace competition and toughness, but I want it to be respectful. I hope he does care for those kids, can't wait to actually see examples of it.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Just to reiterate -- I was also supportive of him doing this because coaches were swiping kids who were Buckeye leans when we were getting the hammer. Plus I'd rather us be progressive with is approach than to lose kids to it. I just feel a bit hypocritical when we all bashed Rich Rod for the same thing.

OurHonorDefend09's picture

Did you watch the team last year? If there was any explosive talent, I didn't really see much of it outside of a few players. 


I think he's just trying to get a spark in the guys to feel like they have something to prove, which in all honesty, they do. Spoon-feeding guys and telling them how great they were led to the miserable year all Buckeyes had to suffer last year.

As a Youngstown guy and Tressel lover, I couldn't be more excited about Urban. No bullshit, no hand holding, just hard work and ass whooping. He's the absolute perfect solution to Ohio State's current state.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

dbit's picture

Not sure, but I think 'Is it saturday yet' meant to write "His reaction in public insults".  Urban did not like it when reporterters wrote inaccurate things about his players.



buckeyefanatic's picture

WVU's lone commit to the 2013 class just uncommitted and gave a verbal to Ohio State. It's perfectly legal to do so. But it's also a good way to start off on the wrong foot with your neighbors.

It's not a good way, it's a GREAT way if you ask me.  The kid didn't sign any papers, they'd didn't say "I do" and kiss the bride ... unwritten schmunwritten.


How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan football?   1AA
Want to beat Michigan? There's an App for that.

bassplayer7770's picture

The supposed "unwritten rule" or "gentleman's agreement" in the B1G is bogus as other teams still poach committed recruits.  MSU was still contacting Tyvis Powell, and scUM obviously stayed in contact with the likes of Kyle Kalis and Bri'onte Dunn.  Below are some links from other schools agreeing there is no such unwritten rule:



Also, I appreciate Coach Meyer's blunt honesty.  Usually, if he says anything negative about a particular recruit, he'll also have something positive to say.  An example is Kenny Guiton.  Coach Meyer said, before, Kenny didn't act much like a QB, but he had a great Winter and was doing much better.  Otherwise, he doesn't seem to call out particular recruits negatively that I've seen.

buckeyedude's picture

exhibit #1) OSU hired Urban Meyer to win football games. Period.

I cannot believe we are still talking about this stupid effing "unwritten rule" again! Personally, I think Tressel was too nice. What good did it do him? I appreciate Tressel, but it's really time to move on already, and get with the frickin Urban Meyer Program! 

I really feel UFM is going to take the OSU football team to new heights. 

If you're worried about hurting some other coach's feelings, then maybe you shouldn't coach a Division I football team. This is a tough business, and winning is everything.