When it comes to the biggest story in collegiate athletics, Urban Meyer is mincing no words and pulling no punches.
The college basketball world was rocked earlier this week when the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that 10 individuals, including four sitting assistant basketball coaches at Power Five schools, had been arrested on fraud and corruption charges in connection to illicit payments to recruits and their families. The scandal has only deepened in the last two days since the announcement, including Rick Pitino essentially being fired as Louisville’s head basketball coach. Other programs have been notified by the Feds that they are under investigation as well.
On his radio show Thursday, Meyer was asked about a scandal that’s only going to continue to grow in the coming days and weeks. Initially, the Ohio State head coach said he had very strong thoughts and opinions that he didn’t think he could share; eventually, Meyer, who labeled himself as “a big proponent of the NCAA” and was adamant that those who use burner phones should be banned from the sport, let loose on the air, particularly on coaches who cheat or lie.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
I always believed if you willfully and intentionally broke the rule or you lie to the NCAA, you can never coach again. To this day, I still believe that. I’m not talking about mistakes made when you have a rulebook like this (thick). But if you intentionally pay a guy money or willfully have a second cell phone to make illegal phone calls, you’re done. You can never coach again.
“It’s no different than a student-athlete. If a student-athlete lies to the NCAA, they’re finished. So you’re telling me a 50-year-old man has more rights than an 18-year-old student-athlete? Who comes up with that? If you intentionally lie about committing violations, your career is over. You’re not suspended for (only) two games. Some of the silly penalties you have — you can’t talk to a recruit for a week and a half or something like that — no. You’re finished. That will clean up some things.
“I’m in favor of regulation. I’m in favor of strong law enforcement and making people obey the rules in our profession. I don’t know the whole story behind it. I don’t have time. But I know one thing, when you start hearing “federal,” when someone asks you a question and you lie, you’re going to jail. I’m anxious to watch what happens.
The irony in all of that, of course, is that the path was cleared for Meyer to take his dream job with the Buckeyes because Jim Tressel essentially lied to the NCAA, helping lead to his dismissal and the football program’s sanctions.
For now, though, the hoops scandal has nothing to do with college football, with the lone exception potentially being at Louisville. You can take it to the bank, though, that the world of college football has sat up and taken notice what.