Meyer Shows Consistency, Fortitude with Klein Dismissal
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer isn’t messing around.
Not this time.
Not when it comes to violence against women.
Photo by Dan Harker
When he took the job at Ohio State back in November, Meyer admitted he made some mistakes in the way he handled things at Florida. It was hard to go back and change some of the way he handled off-the-field issues, but he vowed things would be different in Columbus.
He vowed to set the tone right from the start, and he has.
If people weren’t paying attention when Meyer dismissed defensive backs Dominic Clarke and DerJuan Gambrell, or running back Jaamal Berry from the team in January, they certainly are now.
On Saturday, Meyer announced senior linebacker Storm Klein had been dismissed from the Ohio State football team following his arrest on Friday. Klein, who was arrested previously for assault in 2010, was charged with domestic violence against the woman with whom he was in a relationship.
“The charges filed against Storm Klein violate the core values of the Ohio State Football Program,” Meyer said in a statement.
“As a result, Storm has been removed from the team. It has been made very clear that this type of charge will result in dismissal. If there are any changes in the charges, we will re-evaluate his status.”
It’s hard to imagine a situation in which Klein would rejoin the Buckeyes down the road. Meyer’s justice has been as swift as it has been severe. He has shown zero tolerance for impropriety, especially when it results in legal action.
Meyer even suspended senior tight end Jake Stoneburner and junior offensive tackle Jack Mewhort—two of the key players on his offense—indefinitely after their brush with the law earlier this summer.
The two veterans might have been dismissed from the team altogether, if not for the nature of their crime—urinating in public and running from the police hardly compares to assault—and the fact it was their first run-in with the law.
That didn’t stop Meyer from stripping Stoneburner and Mewhort of their athletic scholarships this summer. They will likely be reinstated to the team during fall camp, if they can meet all of Meyer’s demands, but we still don’t know if there will be any game-time missed for those two.
Unlike Berry, Clarke and Gambrell, Klein was a senior and three-year letterman who started 10 games for the Buckeyes last fall. After missing most of spring practice with a knee injury, Klein wasn’t being projected as a starter heading into fall camp, but he was going to be a key special teams player for Meyer and the Buckeyes this season.
If nothing else, the biggest difference with Klein’s situation is the fact Meyer had very little to gain by booting him off the team. Unlike the others, Klein’s departure does not help Meyer clear another scholarship opening in the class of 2013—the fact he was a senior meant Klein’s scholarship would have been available regardless.
Based on the facts, this was absolutely the right move by Meyer, and really the one he had to make if things were going to be different at Ohio State. Meyer’s detractors—and he has plenty of them—are going to point to the five arrests already in just over seven months on the job.
What they should be pointing to is the way Meyer has handled the arrests. He has shown consistency and fortitude in his decision-making, while upholding his core values as a football coach, and as a man.
Only time will tell how Meyer will handle these situations in the future—especially when he is faced with the prospects of kicking a key player off the team. That’s when his true resolve will be tested, but right now there’s a lot to like.
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