Thomas Bradley/ Campus editor
There’s some disturbing news coming out of Gainesville, Fla., news that many Ohio State fans might be interested to hear.
According to a recent study done by Sporting News, the years that Urban Meyer spent as a head coach at Florida left the locker room completely in shambles. Reports of players running the locker room, using drugs and making executive decisions on roster changes all surfaced. The inner circle of players that had the most control in the locker room took the title “Circle of Trust.”
Most importantly, perhaps, is that players would often fail drug tests and have these results covered up by their head coach.
According to sources, certain players who were left out of a season-opening game against Hawaii in 2008 had actually failed a drug test. Meyer, not wanting to face suspensions or worse, decided it was best to cover for his elite players and sweep the failed tests under the rug. There was obviously favoritism at play, as well as a willingness to bend the rules just to get the highest results.
While these things are not uncommon or unexpected pieces of a locker room, they tend to strike a bit of a chord with the Buckeye faithful.
On Dec. 23, 2010, the NCAA suspended former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan “Boom” Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, offensive tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas for five games for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits from Eddie Rife, owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor. Linebacker Jordan Whiting also received a one-game ban.
Just more than a year ago, it was discovered that former OSU football coach Jim Tressel was aware of the violations but covered up the information so as to “protect the players.”
In the end, Tressel was forced to resign his position and leave OSU with a mixed legacy. After his predecessor Luke Fickell had a very underwhelming season, Meyer was brought in to bring the shamed program back to glory.
Up to this point, Meyer was having incredible success in Columbus. While he has yet to coach his first game, the recruiting trail has proven a gold mine. Meyer has brought in a top-5 recruiting class, including top-10 player Noah Spence.
Yet even this has brought some controversy to OSU. Other coaches across the Big Ten have claimed Meyer violated an unwritten rule in the way he went about flipping recruits to his cause. While not in any violation of NCAA rule, it was a potential insight into issues that could plague OSU further.
It was later stated that about 30 players were arrested during Meyer’s tenure at the school. This often included citations for drug use, which was prevalent among his top players. Percy Harvin has gained respect for his years at Florida, an all-around athlete that was always a threat to score, but wasn’t just the outstanding athlete everyone knew. Harvin failed multiple drug tests while in Gainseville, most of which were covered up, and never saw legal punishment for these issues.
Harvin was not the only star to fall into these types of situations. Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes and Janoris Jenkins, all were stars at Florida, and all got into trouble over the use of marijuana and other character issues. None of these issues were NCAA violations per say, but you have to wonder how a coach at the top of his game could allow these things to happen.
Meyer adamantly denies the reports of course.
“I’ve never heard of Circle of Trust before in my life,” he said.
But if the reports prove to be true, then it could have negative implications in Columbus.
None of these issues really stands out as too egregious or surprising, but that’s not the issue here. The problem is these reports are like rubbing salt in a wound. The university is still reeling from the Tressel “Tattoo Gate” scandal, one that was wrought with lies and cover-ups. If Meyer wants to succeed at OSU, he is going to have to perform well on and off the field. Honesty is key and cannot be something that is ignored and tossed aside this time around.
Let’s just hope that things can change before they get out of hand in Columbus.