Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s efforts in leading his team to a national title earned him another fan in David Letterman, who praised Meyer’s efforts to stress leadership this year.
Meyer noted on the “Late Show with David Letterman” Friday how typical efforts in that department might consist of a single speaker at the beginning of the season. This year, Meyer amped up the emphasis into a 6-7 week “brotherhood of trust” workshop led by speaker Tim Kite.
“In corporate America, millions of dollars are spent on team leadership, but in college football, you don’t ever think about going out and hiring a firm,” Meyer told the late night comedian, adding, though, that doing so brought further success his program.
Letterman was so touched to hear how Meyer interacted with “the lives of these people,” he said. “By God, we need that that now in every walk of life.”
When discussing the 59-0 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, Letterman also poked a little fun at the conference.
“I’m so old I remember when the Big Ten had ten teams,” he said.
Letterman also wasn’t afraid to get serious, pressing Meyer to defend players going unpaid in an era where college football generates approximately $5 billion in revenue.
“I don’t believe athletes should get paid, but they should get taken care of,” Meyer said. “You’d lose what college sports are all about (if the student-athletes were paid). We’re in unchartered waters with the amount of money that’s never been generated before.”
Letterman also touched on the significance the national title must have on OSU’s recruiting efforts.
“If I look out on the front porch and I see Urban Meyer there, I’m signing as you’re walking through the door,” he said.
Meyer acknowledged that recruitment reconvened quickly after the championship game, and this week brought success, though the process for 2015 is nearly complete.
“It’s done so early now, we’re already looking at sophomores and juniors,” Meyer said.
Meyer’s appearance on the talk show came four days after the OSU football team won the national championship, 42-20, over Oregon after the first-ever College Football Playoff.
The segment was filmed Thursday after redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones announced he would return to OSU in lieu of entering the 2015 NFL Draft.
Unless senior quarterback Braxton Miller chooses to transfer, the Buckeyes are set up for a three-way battle for the starting position between Miller, Jones and redshirt-freshman JT Barrett.
Letterman tried to pry for a hint of which signal caller might end up on top, but Meyer didn’t budge. He did, however, praise Jones’ development.
“We’re digging into some pretty serious stuff here,” he said. “Cardale was an incredible case study of spirit and the maturity level that he’s come to. To think that he could’ve brought us to a national championship — if you’d have told me that two years ago — I would’ve disagreed with you on that.”
Letterman jokingly gave advice to clear a path that would allow Jones to start over a duo of Heisman finalists: “I would take the two guys aside and say ‘have you thought about a career as a mascot?’”
Or put them in charge of figuring out the intricacies of how buckeye leaf stickers are awarded, Letterman also suggested.
“I’ll write that down,” Meyer said.
When recounting Barrett’s season-ending injury in the Nov. 29 game against Michigan, Letterman tried to get Meyer to say the name of the state. On this issue, Meyer also didn’t budge, sticking only to “the team up North” and “our rival” for monikers.
The late night appearance was the latest in a series of high-profile affairs for the OSU football team, which also earned an invitation to the White House from President Barack Obama and was recently listed as the most valuable college football team at $1.1 billion.