Meyer not headed to OSU any time soon


Jim Tressel, left, is still the head coach at Ohio State. But that isn't stopping anyone from speculating that former Florida coach Urban Meyer is in line for the job.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer/File
Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.

Wait for it ...

Wait ...

OK ...

There.

You knew it was coming. Almost five minutes has passed without anyone talking about Urban Meyer and Ohio State. Check back with me in 4 minutes, 42 seconds.

Everybody from Beano Cook (who still believes Ron Powlus will win multiple Heisman Trophies) to the guys at Pardon The Interruption to bloggers to columnists have weighed in because it makes sense to them.

Forget that Ohio State has a coach. Mere trivia.




Jim Tressel has to be gone, right? Did you read the notice of allegations from the NCAA? They called him a liar and a cheat and questioned whether he ever kicked his dog. When the hammer comes down, it's going to squash Tressel so that all will be left is a stain under a sweater vest.

Why wait for it to happen? After all, that could take awhile. Forget that the president, Gordon Gee, who thinks so little of athletics that he dismantled Vanderbilt's athletic department, is so intimidated by the Ohio State head coach he joked at a news conference that he hoped Tressel didn't fire him instead of vice versa.

Ohio State is going to stick by their man because he wins games and beats Michigan. His offense was egregious, but you know what is really egregious in Columbus? Losing to Michigan.

Certainly, the NCAA could make it impossible for Ohio State to keep Tressel by dropping a “show cause” into the penalty. We have assumed the reason Bruce Pearl was canned at Tennessee was because the NCAA whispered to the Vols' administration behind closed doors.

“Uh, we know you love this guy and are sticking behind him, but if he's not the coach when we announce the penalties it might not be so bad for your program. Capiche?”

It turned out there was more to it — that Pearl defied his athletic director concerning the eligibility of center Brian Williams, claiming he had a bad back late in the season when he actually was suspended. That was strike four, and Pearl is unemployed.

Still, there are a lot of so-called experts who believe the NCAA will go medieval on Ohio State if Tressel is retained and that will force the Buckeyes to cut him loose. There are others who believe the NCAA will make him sit out next season, and how can you keep a coach who can't coach?

There is no way of knowing what exactly will happen, but that doesn't stop the speculation that when Tressel is shown the door, Meyer will be walking through it.

It's one of those A=B=C arguments. Meyer grew up in Ohio, was a Buckeyes fan growing up and isn't coaching. He is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game and he gets the Buckeye Nation.

Therefore …

I ran into Shelley Meyer on Wednesday and talked to Urban on the phone later.

“I played golf, got a good workout in and my name's all over the papers,” he said.

Meyer, for obvious reasons, isn't going to address the speculation. Instead, he's going to go to Charlotte today to be in studio for ESPN during the NFL Draft, head to Oregon for spring practice, give a couple of speeches and return to Gainesville. By then, maybe all of this will have died down. Maybe not.

“They had us buying a house in Columbus 10 days ago,” Shelley said. “Then it died down before the NCAA thing came out. My daughter texted me wanting to know what was going on.”

The simple answer is that nothing is going on.

Nicki Meyer is so tired of the speculation she tweeted this -- “Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT GOING TO OHIO STATE.”

Is there a chance Meyer could one day become the coach at Ohio State? Sure. Steve Spurrier's coaching against the Gators. Anything is possible.

But I'm as convinced as ever it's not going to happen soon.

In the first place — and nobody seems to want to accept this — Meyer walked away from Florida because of his health more than anything. As I chronicled the day Will Muschamp was hired, he continued to have burning pains in his chest during the 2010 season. During a December conversation with doctors, they made it clear he needed to get off the sidelines or his chances of dropping dead would increase.

Secondly, he's enjoying his gig with ESPN and speaking engagements. There is still plenty of time with his family and no pressure to deal with on a daily basis.

Thirdly, why would he want to walk into that mess? There are going to be sanctions. There is no telling how serious it could be, especially because the NCAA could consider Ohio State a repeat offender. And you would be succeeding the most beloved coach at Ohio State since Woody Hayes.

I don't see it and I'm convinced the Meyers don't see it either. Maybe somewhere down the road. But not when everyone thinks it will happen.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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