Urban Meyer A "Hypocrite Of His Own Creed"

Meyer didn't break any laws or violate NCAA rules, Ben Kercheval said, but he might not be the person he claims to be

August 02, 2018 - 8:52 am

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Urban Meyer has been replaced on administrative leave as Ohio State investigates whether he knew of domestic-violence accusations against former assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach during the investigation.

CBSSports.com college football writer Ben Kercheval believes that Meyer’s job status is in serious jeopardy. Meyer is an elite coach, yes, but he doesn’t have the immunity that, say, a Nick Saban does.

“I don’t think Meyer is as big as Saban,” Kercheval said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Saban’s on another level. I think Saban has a level of, I don’t want to call it immunity, but certainly something close to that I don’t think that any other active coach has – (including) Meyer. I think he’s big. I do think that all he does is win. But I think that given his rap and given his history and given the fact that Ohio State is a top-tier job, I don’t think he’s bigger than Ohio State. If it turns out that he lied about what he knew, there’s usually only one way that ends.”

But should Meyer, who is 73-8 at Ohio State, lose his job for lying to the media? Is that truly a fireable offense?

“People lie all the time,” Kercheval said, “but not necessarily about the stuff they might be covering up – a guy that has a serious problem with domestic violence. What he knew, when he knew, how much he knew – right now we’re sort of at the tip of the iceberg of what I think this story could possibly uncover. I don’t think Urban Meyer is guilty of any laws. He’s not guilty of breaking any NCAA rules. What you’re probably talking about is him being a hypocrite of his own creed, his own core values, and him not being the person he claims to be. Really, at the end of the day, that’s what he’s probably guilty of. 

“So that’s what makes the decision for Gene Smith so interesting,” Kercheval continued. “Is that enough to warrant moving on from, just to save your own face? Who knows how far up the ladder this thing goes?”

If Meyer is, indeed, dismissed, one must wonder how it will affect Ohio State’s season. The Buckeyes are favored to win the Big Ten.

“A lot of times it sort of serves as a little bit of a rallying cry, even though the backdrop is an odd thing to maybe rally around,” Kercheval said. “But that’s typically what happens. (Players) want to push out the noise and play for each other. Now, how does that translate into wins and losses this year? That’s a little bit to be determined.”

Ohio State opens the season with home games against Oregon State and Rutgers before traveling to Arlington, Texas, to take on TCU on Sept. 15.

“I think that’s a good litmus test to tell you where this team is at,” Kercheval said. “Certainly they have the talent to be favored to win all of their games this year and win the Big Ten championship and maybe get to the playoff. But I think the mental aspect of it is really what’s going to be tested, and usually one of two things happen: either everything falls apart – I don’t mean 6-6; I mean 3-9, (where) the wheels completely fall off the wagon – or everyone kind of rallies and starts playing for another and you get this unforeseen level of success. I don’t think there’s any middle ground. If I had to guess, Ohio State is closer to going out and winning 11 games than winning three. 

“Urban Meyer has been there long enough, that staff has been there long enough, that after a while, that machine starts to run on its own a little bit,” Kercheval continued. “I’m not understating the importance of Urban Meyer. Clearly he is on another level as far as what he means to that program. But to an extent, for three games, five games a season, they can operate on their own.”