Meyer: It’s Time to Move Forward
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer did not expect a postseason ban when he took the head coaching job at Ohio State back in November, but he is not going to let it phase him now.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that they will impose a 1-year bowl ban on the Buckeyes, along with a reduction of three scholarships per year over the next three for the violations committed by former head coach Jim Tressel and his players.
Meyer was still trying to put his staff together and finish with a strong recruiting class when he heard the news on Tuesday. He appeared to be as shocked and disappointed as the rest of Buckeye Nation, but told The-Ozone.net that he has no plans of changing his decision to coach the Buckeyes.
“It’s time to move forward, not backward,” he said.
“I agreed to become the Head Football Coach at The Ohio State University because Shelley and I are Ohio natives, I am a graduate of this wonderful institution and served in this program under a great coach. I understand the academic and athletic traditions here and will give great effort to continue those traditions.”
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said he was “surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision” to inflict a postseason ban on the Buckeyes, especially after Smith had offered assurances to Meyer and Ohio State fans that there was no precedent for a bowl ban.
The program has opted not to appeal the ruling, however, in an effort to finally put a year of upheaval behind them.
“We need to move forward as an institution,” Smith said Tuesday.
“We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics. Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.”
A postseason ban—which includes any potential appearance in next year’s Big Ten championship game—definitely changes the game a little bit for Meyer, who said Monday he was planning to “hit like a hurricane” after the bowl season.
Meyer also said Monday that his expectations were the same at Ohio State as they were at Florida: Win it all. That can no longer be accomplished during the 2012 season, which will be Meyer’s first in Columbus since 1987, but execution of his plan for success remains the same.
“It is still my goal to hire excellent coaches, recruit great student-athletes who want to be a part of this program and to win on and off the field,” Meyer said.
It will be a little bit tougher to win big on the field, but it appears the Buckeyes won’t lose any of their commits in the immediate aftermath of the NCAA decision. According to numerous recruiting services, all of the major recruits who have verbally committed to Ohio State are sticking with the Buckeyes, although they have not yet been tempted by any negative recruiting that is sure to accompany Ohio State’s latest plight.
“My primary concern, as always, is for our students, and this decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past,” Gene Smith said.
“Knowing our student-athletes, however, I have no doubt in their capacity to turn this into something positive – for themselves and for the institution. I am grateful to our entire Buckeye community for their continued support.”
Meyer does not agree with the NCAA that Jim Tressel willfully committed major NCAA violations when he withheld information about Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey last year. It was that decision that led to Tressel’s forced resignation, along with the 5-year “show-cause” penalty he received from the NCAA on Tuesday.
Make no mistake about, though, Meyer knows that Ohio State must be held to a higher standard, both on and off the field.
“The NCAA penalties will serve as a reminder that the college experience does not include the behavior that led to these penalties,” he said.
“I expect all of us to work hard to teach and develop young student-athletes to grow responsibly and to become productive citizens in their communities upon graduation.”
That is something he learned from his mentor, Earle Bruce.
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