By Dan Wolken
USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday he wants discipline in his program to be “as hard or harder” as any in the country and said he constantly evaluates whether he’s given too many second chances in the past.
“Maybe that’s where I’ve changed over the years,” Meyer said Wednesday at the Big Ten Conference’s football media day. “Even (for) a first-time offense. I want to make sure we’re setting the tone.”
Meyer’s history of player discipline has come back into the spotlight this summer with his former tight end at Florida, Aaron Hernandez, being accused of murdering Odin Lloyd. At issue is how Meyer handled Hernandez, whose time at Florida included an alleged incident in which he punched a restaurant employee and another in which he was questioned about a shooting. Neither incident led to formal charges, but a New York Times study showed 41 out of 121 players on Florida’s 2008 national championship roster had been arrested during or after college.
Meyer declined to answer a question asking him to evaluate how he dealt with Hernandez but said he was upset the focus has been taken off the “good coaches, good people” during his time at Florida because of the incident.
Discipline became a conversation piece again heading into Big Ten media day when two Ohio State players — running back Carlos Hyde and all-conference cornerback Bradley Roby — were involved in separate incidents last weekend.
Though Hyde wasn’t arrested, Meyer suspended him indefinitely after he was named a person of interest in the police report. Roby’s status has been unclear since being arrested in Bloomington, Ind., following a bar incident. He was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday, citing an anonymous person, that charges were not expected to be filed against Hyde after surveillance video from his alleged incident showed that he didn’t punch the victim who claimed he had assaulted her.
Meyer said he was “furious” when he learned about the incidents but pointed to having only three run-ins with police in the last year since he’s been at Ohio State.
“I don’t want to disrupt this team,” said Meyer, who was 12-0 in his first season at OSU, which was ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA violations. “These guys have worked too hard to have a couple knuckleheads make decisions that reflect on the entire program. It’s something we work very hard to avoid with our players.
“I’m extremely disappointed and it’ll be dealt with in a very serious manner. I’m getting different conflicting stories so I’ll get the facts and then react.”
Category: Big Ten