Ohio State won. Urban Meyer lost.

Ohio State won. Urban Meyer lost.

When the stage was set for the final act in Monday’s national championship game, you knew exactly how it would play out.

Leading 35-20, Ohio State picked up a first down at the 3-yard-line with under a minute remaining. Oregon had two timeouts but was choosing not to use them, having already conceded defeat. The Buckeyes could have simply taken a knee twice and began to celebrate.

But Urban Meyer wanted more.

Urban Meyer always wants more.

Meyer took two more cracks at the end zone, found it on the second try with 28 seconds remaining, and made the final score 42-20.

And for what? To impress Associated Press voters who will be casting ballots for the preseason Top 25 poll in just a few more months? It isn’t like the Buckeyes had anything else to accomplish this season. They had dominated the football game and won the national championship. The margin of victory wasn’t going to make their trophy any bigger, or any shinier. It wasn’t going to make any more confetti fall from the rafters at AT&T Stadium. It wasn’t going to make the spotlight shine a little brighter when Meyer and his team took the stage to claim their crown. And it isn’t as though Ezekiel Elliot needed to pad his stats. He had already turned in the most impressive performance of a national title game in years.

In that situation, winners would’ve shown a little mercy; displayed a little sportsmanship. It’s what winners do.

But Urban Meyer isn’t a winner.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Meyer since he left Utah for Florida and hit the big-time college football stage, it’s that he isn’t a winner. He’s a good coach. He’s a good recruiter. He knows the game of football. His teams win.But he isn’t a winner.

And that’s why I — and most other football fans I know — really don’t care for him. There’s a reason Forbes.com called him “the biggest hypocrite in college sports.” Because doing what he did last night — scoring a garbage touchdown in the final half-minute in an effort to humiliate his opponent — is just what Meyer does.

Now that he’s won national championships at two different schools, many want to compare Meyer to Alabama’s Nick Saban. But what would Saban have done in that situation? We know what he wouldn’t have done. He wouldn’t have chosen to beat the dead horse. Because, like him or hate him, and plenty of people hate him, Saban wins with dignity and loses with dignity.

Meyer, on the other hand, has a history of poor sportsmanship. In 2008, with his Florida team leading bitter rival Georgia 49-10, Meyer used both of his remaining time outs in the final minute of the game to prolong Georgia’s agony. Sure, Georgia’s entire team rushed the end zone the previous year to celebrate a touchdown against Florida. Sure, Bulldog coach Mark Richt was responsible, and it reflected poorly on him. Sure, Meyer’s tactic was a retaliatory move. But someone should be the adult. Tic for tac approaches leave everyone on the losing end.

But that’s what you get with Urban Meyer. When people asked me why I don’t like Meyer I say it’s because he represents a lot of what’s wrong with college football. There is so much wrong with college athletics, and it’s becoming more obvious every day, but as long as characters like Meyer are celebrated by the national pundits instead of being called out for their lack of class and integrity, college athletics will continue to be mired in this cesspool.

It isn’t just Meyer who’s responsible. There are plenty of coaches who play their part, and Tennessee — my team; my school — has had its fair share. Lane Kiffin ring any bells? Or how about our present basketball coach, Donnie Tyndall? As much as I love the hustle and effort his team plays with, if the Southern Miss allegations are substantiated, Tyndall will be branded as a repeat offender — which makes him, too, a part of the problem.

No, Meyer isn’t alone. But he might be the poster child.

This is the same Urban Meyer who once declared that his SEC coaching rival Phillip Fulmer was letting his players in Knoxville run loose in the streets “like a bunch of animals.” And, yet, 12 of the 22 starters on Meyer’s 2008 national championship team at Florida — the team Meyer called “the greatest to ever play the game” — were arrested during their college days or after leaving school. Is that Forbes.com “hypocrite” line starting to ring a little more true?

One of those 12 starters was Aaron Hernandez, the NFL tight end who is now facing trial on double murder charges. Would Hernandez’s alleged victims — Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado — still be alive if Meyer handled his teams in Gainesville correctly? Maybe that seems far-fetched. Maybe it even seems unfair.

Or maybe it’s a legitimate question.

Rolling Stone magazine alleged that Meyer covered up not only Hernandez’s failed drug tests at Florida, but also an assault and a drive-by shootout outside the bar. Presumably, those incidents, properly investigated, would have led to his dismissal from the team and he would have never made it to the NFL.

Even Yahoo Sports admitted that it’s “hard to believe” Meyer wasn’t aware of Hernandez’s troubles. Meyer himself later admitted that his biggest mistake was, “I probably gave second chances to some people that maybe shouldn’t.”

Forbes.com calls Meyer the “biggest hypocrite in sports” because he extolls Christian virtues and then, at the very first opportunity to display Christian behavior, chose not to at the conclusion of last night’s game.

Fair enough.

But there are also less inflammatory examples of Meyer’s hypocrisy. Like his claim that Florida only recruited the “top one percent of one percent” during his tenure there. There used to be a running punch line in the SEC, and it involved former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer’s lax discipline resulted in a number of his players landing in hot water. So when any other team in the SEC had an arrest or a player suspended because of off-the-field issues, fans called it “The Fulmer Cup.” That phrase lost its luster somewhere around 2008 or 2009, and not just because Fulmer was no longer the coach at Tennessee. It lost its luster because Fulmer’s disciplinary struggles at Tennessee paled in comparison with Meyer’s problems with his “top one percent of one percent” at Florida. And the SEC had itself a new punch line.

In fact, the New York Times later reported that 41 — FORTY-ONE — players on that one single 2008 team were arrested either during their time at Florida or later.

Even Florida fans figured out the real Urban Meyer. Since Meyer won two national championships at Florida, you would think he would be revered there. Instead, he’s reviled. Most Gator fans were actively rooting for Oregon in last night’s game. They can’t stand Meyer, because they’ve seen his true colors.

In fact, Meyer has made enemies at every stop. When he left Utah for Florida, he left Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson saying, “The problem with Urban Meyer is, unless you know the real inside scoop, it’s hard to tell when he’s lying. Maybe it’s only when he’s moving his lips.”

Monson’s problem with Meyer was Meyer’s repeated statements about Utah being where he wanted to be.

“Go back and check his quotes in past months about his full intention of staying at Utah as long as the stadium is full and the student-athletes are getting their opportunity to be a Top 25 team, about how much his family loves Salt Lake City, about blah, and blah and blah,” Monson wrote.

Seven years later, when Meyer was leaving for Ohio State, it was Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi who was ripping him. “What was it those renowned college football analysts — Fleetwood Mac — once sang about Urban Meyer? ‘Tell me lies. Tell me sweet little lies,’” Bianchi wrote.

Bianchi’s beef with Meyer was much the same as Monson’s. When he resigned because of mysterious health reasons, then came back a day later, Meyer said, “If I am able to coach, I want to coach at one place, the University of Florida. It would be a travesty, it would be ridiculous to all of a sudden come back and get the feeling back, get the health back, feel good again and then all of a sudden go throw some other colors on my back and go coach. I don’t want to do that. I have too much love for this university and these players and for what we’ve built.”

One year later, when it became apparent that Meyer would have a tough time winning in the SEC without Heisman quarterback Tim Tebow, and when it became obvious that Alabama’s Nick Saban was knocking on his door, Meyer resigned again — this time to spend more time with his family. Except, 10 months after that, Meyer apparently considered his familial duties fulfilled and was throwing the scarlet and silver on his back to go coach at Ohio State.

“I’m sure he’s probably spewing the same disingenuous garbage in Columbus he spewed in Gainesville over the years,” Bianchi wrote that day. “Come on, Gator fans, you probably have his lines memorized by now, right? ‘This is the mountain top. This is my dream job. This is the best job in America. You are the best fans in America. I’m only going to recruit the top one percent of the top one percent. And it’s all about discipline and integrity and players being good role models, on and off the field.’ Tell me lies. Tell me sweet little lies.”

The biggest hypocrite in college sports? Seems appropriate.

Lest we forget, Meyer scored an early recruiting coup at Ohio State when he turned highly-sought-after wide receiver Stefon Diggs away from Florida. Diggs’ other top choices were Ohio State and Maryland — which is where he ultimately signed.

Turned out, as The Sporting News reported, Meyer turned Diggs away from Florida by telling Diggs’ family that he “wouldn’t let his son go to Florida because of significant character issues in the locker room.”

As Sporting News said, “Character issues that we now know were fueled by a culture Meyer created. Character issues that gutted what was four years earlier the most powerful program in college football.”

Negative recruiting is part of the game in college athletics. Teams use other teams’ weaknesses against them to sway prospective players. But it takes a special kind of magician to use his own shortcomings to negatively recruit against the former school where his shortcomings manifested themselves.

A special kind of magician or a special kind of hypocrite.

And remember when Kiffin scored his own recruiting coup by convincing highly-touted receiver NuKeese Richardson to sign with Tennessee instead of Meyer’s Gators? Then Kiffin made headlines when he falsely accused Meyer of a recruiting violation: “I love the fact that Urban tried to cheat and still didn’t get him,” Kiffin said. It was a classless statement by a classless coach. It drew plenty of flack. And left Meyer crying foul.

Then, in 2013, Meyer did the same thing. He falsely accused a team of a recruiting violation. But unlike Kiffin, who made his allegation while bragging with fans, Meyer actually made his allegation to the NCAA, who looked into it and found it to have no bearing.

The team Meyer falsely ratted out? His former Gators. The team he “had too much love for” to “suddenly go throw some other colors” on his back and coach.

Lack of integrity? Yeah, that seems appropriate, too.

Of course, none of that had any bearing on last night’s national championship game. But Forbes.com was right about one thing: Meyer does spend a lot of time extolling Christian virtues. And so, at game’s end, when he had the opportunity to show the sports world that he’s turned over a new leaf, should we have expected any different? Not really. Meyer has run out of chances to show us he has even an ounce of integrity in him. And last night he proved once again that he has no class, either.

Congratulations go out to Ohio State. It was a well-deserved victory; a complete throttling of a very good Oregon football team, and one of the most dominant performances of a national championship game in recent memory. It may be the first of several national championships to come if Michigan and Jim Harbaugh don’t get in the way. Either way, your team went out a winner last night.

But your coach is a complete loser.

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      I understand your points,but I see it differently, and you have to also understand that you, as a coach, have to do whatever you have to do while remaining within the rules of the governing body to get your team that edge, that attitude of being aggressive, being relentless and maintaining that nasty mind set, never quitting. Some times teams dont have that and ones that do want to keep it. Most kids can’t turn it on and turn it off from play to play or game to game or even year to year. So for coach to keep his foot on the other teams throat the entire game may not be to show them up… it may be to keep his team headed in the right direction. He knows his team better then many one of us. So if that is what he feels he needs to do then by all means do it. He is sending a message to his players of what he expects and how his teams will play on every play of every game, regardless if you are up by 50 or down by 50. Most people look at it as a slap in the face to their opponents. But the game isn’t played to win by as little as possible its about winning at all cost and I think he is doing that. Just some games may look like something else. He’s one of the best in the game and you dont get that way without knowing your players and what makes them tick. Good coaches will get every ounce of talent out of these kids and do what ever it takes to do so. Once to can do that Championships will take care of themselves!!!

    Very well said. I have never rooted for or will root for ohio state. Feel bad for his players as they will adapt his mentality

    Very well said, although I take issue with a couple things. Saban actually did score once more in the final minutes of the 2009 NC game. I’m sure after that critcism, he made sure he didn’t so it again. 2011 wasn’t that long ago, so if you want to have a truly dominant performance of recent history, I think 21-0 and LSU never crossing the 50 yard line would be it. 2012 and the dominance over Notre Dame was pretty good too.
    Side note: I hate Urban Meyer!

      In that game it was a running play that scored and he scorned the player on the sideline for doing so. Don’t make a comparison that doesn’t compare.

    Hahaha. Oregon did that to their opponents all year long. And it was coming to them. It is a game, a competition. And saying you feel sorry for the players is ridiculous. They are getting taught to be winners . To never give up. So you guys can hate all you want on what urban did. But then again everyone in the world was hating on ohio from the beginning. Ohio vs. The world. And ohio state is on top!!!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this article…I have never been nor will I ever be an Ohio State fan, and this well-compiled list of facts and observations will help me immensely in attempting to show my Buckeye friends how absolutely classless their program really is. Oh, and go Cats! 🙂

    Very well put, sir. I harbor no ill will for Ohio State, but I loathe urban meyer more than any other coach in any sport. I’m an Alabama alumnus, staff member and fan, and I was livid when OSU threw toward the end zone after recovering our onside kick in the Sugar Bowl. Had they run the clock instead of taking a shot at running up the score on us, we would have been in no position to throw into the end zone at the end of the game–we might have gotten the ball back with 40 seconds left after their punt. I would have taken a 40-point beating by Oregon in the NCG if only we could have come back and won the playoff game, because it would have been directly impacted by his classless, lowdown attempt at running up the score.
    I hope Harbaugh beats him like a rented mule until he resigns again.

      Exactly, win while you can, ’cause someone else is knocking at the door! Judgement will come to all, but none of us are the judge….

    I don’t know where this guy thought insulting a coach simply because he put up an extra touchdown at the end of the game. If Urban is such a horrible coach. What does that say about head coach Mark Helfrich of Oregan when they totally blew Florida out of the water with that 59-20 win 2 weeks ago? Its a game. Don’t read into it more than it is. Let OSU enjoy their win a little huh? There’s always next year.

    Well written and well researched. Although not many Ohio State fans will like it, its true. Football hero’s of the past and present are all a direct reflection of their college coach. Most that don’t understand this article or just disagree probably need to research the word Integrity. Its a requirement not an option and in our culture very rare. Without integrity there are NO real winners. Thanks.

    I had the pleasure of playing for Coach Meyer and also coach for him. What most people who have never invested the time, effort, and work ethic into something that is bigger than yourself would never understand Competitive Excellence. This is not a sometime thing it is a all the time thing. It is not about winning or losing it is about being the best you can be all the time in everything you do. In Urbans Post Game interview he made the comment that “we are going to take a couple of days off and then get back to work.” It is a mindset and learned behavior that is not meant to be turned on and off. Continuing to play hard for 60 minutes is something you will always see from a Urban Meyer Coached Team. Some players will go to the NFL but most will go off and be Husbands, Fathers, and Leaders in there community. Hire the to be the Leaders of your companies because that same Determination, Effort and Commitment that you see on the field from them as as player you will reap the benefits from them as an employee. And as for thoses player who come up short of the expectitations of competitive excellence in society, well let’s just say it is probaly equivalent to Urban’s winning percentage.

    He did the same thing at Utah against their rival BYU. I think it was 2004 and Utah was dominating BYU. In the closing minutes he put in a defensive tackle to run in a touchdown while running up the score. This guy is as slimey as there is.

    Duck fan here; I thought the final drive for OSU was surprising, but I have a hard time saying unsportsman-like. As someone has already pointed out, Oregon’s been running up the score on opponents all season. Although, to my recollection, none of those games involved a final drive touchdown to go up 20-something points with less than a minute to go. But, Monday’s game was a tough loss to accept for Duck fans not because of some final play, but because it was a defeat on multiple levels – despite our prized quarterback having a moderately good game. This isn’t to say that Meyer should be absolved from shame for conducting his teams with rather shallow character, but it is to say that I don’t think a TD on a final drive of a game to go up 20-something points necessarily reflects a character flaw. Players and coaches do what they do to win; that was all I saw from OSU on Monday.

    Very well researched and very well written. One minor quibble on Meyer’s decision to go for the final score. I’m a HS coach in the Pacific Northwest and a fan of all the Northwest teams, and while I didn’t appreciate Meyer’s sticking that last score in there, I would argue that if that’s the kind of guy he is, it was Oregon’s job to stop him. My complaint, and one that he should have to answer for, is that Ohio State had – what? – 85 players dressed for the game, and if anybody was going to try to score down at the end, it should have been their backups, guys who worked their tails off all season long and then, in the biggest game of their lives, never got on the field. Some leader. That ought to tell them what their coach really thinks about them.

    In response to Pete – Oregon DID NOT do that all year long. We did not SHOVE it down our opponents throat with less than a minute to play. Please get your facts straight before you post untruths.

    Man get a life.Its why they play the game.It no rule that have to stop scoring.Oregen didn’t have a problem running up the score all season.

    The excellence you speak of must have not included punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

    A garbage touchdown, or running up the score in any way, is not competitive excellence. It is a lack of integrity. That’s all. There is no discussion about that.

    Now, go back to Ohio State University and learn where capital letters are appropriate, and when commas and semi-colons are to be used.

    A game is never over until the last whistle blows. I never felt Coach Myers was padding points for position ranking in 2016. Coach Myers is a class act! Your article appears sincere so stick to writing and leave Coaching to men that understand how to survive Coaching in today’s arena!

      A little over the top, Tennessee guy, but some truths
      in your article. Isn’t it nice we live in a country in
      which we can all comment, agree to disagree, & express
      out opinions. You sure got mine!

    Maybe he shouldn’t have scored that last touchdown or maybe so. We get so emotional about it and start characterizing people. That’s the media! Maybe he is the antithesis of a hypocrite and shares what is truly on his mind and then that changes. I used to hate peppers, now I love peppers, does that make me a hypocrite? Crazy! He loves Utah and then gets an unreal opportunity to coach at a nationally competitive school and jumps at it. Can you blame him? Did Utah assume because he lived there that he would stay forever? They lost a great coach and they were bummed. If I analyzed every decision you made, judging your intentions and motives, I could make you look pretty bad too. Media, please stop. Urban’s not a loser, perhaps he gave second chances to people that he shouldn’t have (admission), been there-done that. We are the arrogant ones as we stand miles away and judge motives and intentions. WE DONT KNOW!!!

    as a Florida fan, I’m no supported of Mr Meyer. But in a game where everything is about statistics, why is adding more yardage and points considered bad sportsmanship? And we’ve seen cases where a losing team pulls off the impossible in the last few seconds of a game, so why not keep going until the clock is at 0:00? There are no NCAA rules that state the game should be over when it looks like the other team has conceded.

    I’m probably in the small percentage of Gator fans who don’t hate (or even greatly dislike) Urban Meyer.
    Despite the problems with the arrests, and losing of control in the latter part of his time in Gaines-
    ville, I think the good ultimately outweighed the bad
    by a fair margin: 2 national titles in 6 yrs, where- as only 1 in the previous 90 or so. That put the uni-
    versity in pretty rare and elite company, as 1 of the
    few major programs with 3 or more titles in football.

    Meyer isn’t a perfect human being (or even a perfect
    coach) and as far as I know, he never claimed to be. I think his “breakdown” (mental & physical collapse)
    after the Alabama loss in the 2009 SEC championship
    game that cost the Gators a chance to advance to the
    national championship game against Texas, was real &
    severe. Maybe the way he subsequently handled all the
    stuff was fraught with mistakes, misjudgements, etc.,
    but I don’t believe his actions were premeditated, as
    some would suggest.

    I also don’t believe he used Florida as a “stepping-
    stone” school 2 “audition” for better jobs, a charge
    some have made, but genuinely liked it here, & would
    have preferred 2 remain here, in the “perfect world”,
    that we all wished it was. He never promised that he
    would never leave, unlike that little mercenary jerk,
    Saban, who DID tell the Dolphins that he wouldn’t be
    leaving them, then took the Alabama job. Don Shula –
    the former Dolphins coach, & the all time winningest
    coach in the NFL – really blasted Saban’s character, & rightfully so – after that escapade.

    I personally could never stand or stomach Saban – as
    a person or a coach – and while I’m an “SEC guy” for
    the most part, I was glad to see Meyer’s boys wallop
    Saban’s favored grunts in the semi-finals. The final
    margin wasn’t all that great – thanx to the “garbage
    touchdown” Alabama scored late – but the Ohio State
    comeback of 20 unanswered points that took them from
    a 20 – 7 deficit, to a 27 – 20 lead, & ultimate con-
    trol of the game – was very telling, & I was so glad.
    While there are some justifiable criticisms of Meyer,
    he’s a virtual “choir boy” in my opinion, compared 2
    that little drill sergeant with “short man syndrome”,
    who runs a virtual “football factory” similar to oth-
    er schools like Miami & Nebraska, that are not known
    for their academic stature, as schools like Southern
    Cal,Stanford, Florida, & Notre Dame are, for example.

    In finally closing (do I hear applause, lol) I do ad-
    mit that Ohio States’s final touchdown against Oregon
    in the last minute, also left me cold. I kept waiting
    for Jones to take a knee, and wished he had. Right or
    wrong, I think Meyer was trying to stick it to Saban,
    in a way, using poor Oregon as a proxy. Looking at it
    like that, I would’ve done the same, only sooner, by
    passing for a touchdown, then going for 2 after that!

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