Urban Meyer Unloads on NCAA, College Football

Urban Meyer had a habit of saying interesting (read: inflammatory) things from time to time while the head coach in Gainesville. They would of course get a reaction, and then he'd blame the media for blowing them up. It happened just about once every year.

Now that he's no longer a head coach, he doesn't seem to be coy about that any more. In an interview with a sports radio station in Indianapolis, the NCAA's home town no less, he blasted the current state of college football and NCAA enforcement.

He says that he's seen a "complete turn" in the integrity of college football coaches over the last five years. He's critical of the NCAA's enforcement division, saying that the current incentive to coaches is do whatever you want now to win games because the NCAA won't deal with it until a long time after. He specifically criticizes the NCAA's suspension of Dez Bryant while other unspecified violations are going on elsewhere. Meyer essentially accuses the NCAA of not wanting to enforce some of its bylaws, and says he put together a proposal for new enforcement methods that he sent around to ADs, presidents, and conference commissioners last year. He says the worst of it all is that kids who take things from agents when they're not supposed to and get illegal benefits during recruiting have learned that it's fine to take shortcuts.

Meyer was no saint when it came to the recruiting trail. His incessant text messaging in part led to the NCAA putting in a rule restricting it. There is the famous story about how he told Jevan Snead that he was recruiting Tim Tebow as a linebacker. There was his calling of Carl Moore's girlfriend, who was also being recruited for Florida's gymnastics team, which is against NCAA rules.

What he's talking about here, though, is players getting involved with agents and programs paying players to come play. Meyer was never accused of doing that.

It's also a clear shot at some others in the SEC both because he was in the SEC over the last five years and because the MAC and MWC aren't known for scandalous recruiting. In case you think he's being vague, he says that coaches all know who cheats and who doesn't, but the honest ones don't want to out the outlaws out of being "politically correct."

He's not being politically correct here. Thoughts naturally drift to the Cam Newton investigation, which is still ongoing, as Meyer was rumored to have encouraged Dan Mullen to go to the NCAA with the stories of Cecil Newton trying to sell his son. Both UF and Meyer denied that, but at least that rumor had the kernel of truth about Meyer being sick of the illicit money flowing through college sports. He quite clearly is.

I would encourage Meyer to take the next natural step and come forward with names, but doing so without hard evidence probably opens him up to libel lawsuits. In any event, his comments here seem to indicate that the Reggie Bushes and Marvin Austins of the world only got investigated because they were too obvious in their dealings with agents, not because of a renewed fervor for enforcing rules.

Needless to say, it'll be very interesting to see what, if anything, the NCAA has to say in reaction. Meyer has been known to use hyperbole when he gets worked up about things, but if he was sending a proposal around the college football world, he might not be in this situation.

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