What if This Happened at Auburn?
Has there been a bigger phony to reach the pinnacle of college coaching than Urban Meyer? While Meyer continues to portray himself as a holier than thou figure, his track record continues to be called into question.
The latest controversy involves Meyer’s tenure at Florida and his handling of former Gator and alleged murderer, Aaron Hernandez. Whether the former tight-end skated around team rules while there is still open for debate.
What’s not open for debate is that Meyer built a team of thugs while coaching in Gainesville. The New York Times reports that 34% of Meyer’s 2008 roster was arrested while playing at Florida or shortly after.
“A roster on the university’s Web site lists 121 players, 41 of whom have been arrested, either in college or afterward, and sometimes both. That number included 16 players on that season’s final two-deep roster, nine of whom were starters, as well as a kicker, punter and returner.”
In full disclosure, Cam Newton was one of those players. In light of how things turned out, I think it’s ok now to give Cam a pass.
Can you imagine the media attention Auburn would have received if one of Chizik’s teams had that many arrest. The burglary arrest of five players in 2011 garnered 10 times the attention that these 41 arrests have received.
A quick check of ESPN.com shows the Meyer story buried at the bottom of the website. Yet, Selena Roberts, who produces her own website using the free Wi-Fi at McDonald’s, garners headlines on ESPN for bogus reporting about Auburn.
Just four years ago, I called into question the quality of recruits that Meyer was bringing on campus. The Orlando Sentinel called my words racist and insulting. Today, I just call them true.
I relayed a story about a recruiting trip to Florida that a friend of mine took with his son. That son now starts for a prominent SEC program. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“I talked to a recruit who attended the Florida-South Carolina game last year and he said he actually put his wallet in his front pocket because of the recruits who were there visiting. He said they were cast straight from the streets of Miami. The only thing Urban Meyer is trying to do is win football games. Don’t give us this crap about graduation rates and academics.”
The now obviously wrong and misguided Orlando Sentinel writer took exception, writing, “Straight from the streets of Miami? That comment couldn’t be any more racist or insulting. Whatever issue you have with Meyer, it is completely ridiculous to start calling their recruits “straight from the streets of Miami.”
Four years later, I rest my case.