Thursday night and Friday morning the internet began to explode with rumors that Urban Meyer is going to be the next head football coach of The Ohio State University.
One of the first websites to publicly put their name to the rumor was the Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors. On their Twitter account, they wrote “We are 99.7% sure Urban Meyer has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of Ohio State. Solid sources. Plural. Just to clarify: We were being serious. No timetable for announcement yet, obviously.”
So does this mean Ohio State fans should start rejoicing and Michigan fans should start trembling? Not so fast. Eleven Warriors is as reputable of an Ohio State site as there is and their record of reporting stands for itself. But to say that Urban Meyer to Ohio State is a done deal might not be totally accurate.
The biggest hold up to this being formally announced at this time might be the forthcoming NCAA ruling on the OSU infractions. By all accounts the Ohio State Board of Trustees does not think Ohio State will be receiving a bowl ban, and this message has been conveyed to Urban Meyer.
Never the less, it seems a little hard to believe that Urban would accept the job without knowing for certain what the NCAA outcome is going to be. The bottom line is that Urban Meyer can make whatever demands he wants. This is going to happen on his timeline, not Ohio State’s. And he’s certainly unlikely to take a job where he does know with 100% certainty what the outcome of an NCAA investigation is going to be.
Perhaps that’s where Eleven Warriors’ 99.7% confidence comes from, as opposed to 100% certainty. If we play a game of logic hypotheticals, it’s plausible to imagine a scenario where Urban Meyer would tell Ohio State he will accept the job after the NCAA ruling is official and the sanctions are not more than he cares to withstand.
Eleven Warriors may have stopped short of saying Urban Meyer definitely will be the next coach at Ohio State, but multiple other reports and internet sites are saying it’s a done deal. I’ve felt for a very long time that this was the most likely scenario, and I have zero reason to doubt any of it. From the people I’ve talked to, I’ve heard very similar, equally encouraging signs that Ohio State feels certain Urban Meyer will accept their bid to make him coach. But everyone should be careful before saying it is a done deal.
Ohio State certainly would like the NCAA to rule before December 3rd, the date of the Big Ten Championship Game. The loss to Purdue all but killed Ohio State’s chances at playing for the title (unless you believe Illinois has more than a fleeting chance at beating Wisconsin). Had Ohio State still controlled their own destiny, it would have put pressure on the NCAA to act quickly. Now they don’t have quite as much pressure, although they still need to give the Bowl Games ample time to promote their games and sell tickets. So a decision on OSU’s fate should be coming soon.
Once that decision is handed down, expect things to happen in the coaching “search” extremely quickly. Ohio State’s Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, and Plan E all along have all been to hire Urban Meyer to take over the program Luke Fickell has taken care of in this dark time. Urban Meyer’s ties to Ohio State are well known and the OSU job has been one tied to Urban Meyer ever since the coach left the University of Florida. Nobody thought things would happen this soon, but the timing is what it is. For Ohio State, it is now or never to sign Urban Meyer. For Urban Meyer, it very well could be now or never to accept this job.
Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce once talked about how painful it was for him personally when Jim Tressel faced off against Urban Meyer in the National Championship Game a few years back. Both men coached at Ohio State under Earle Bruce. And while Coach Bruce made it clear he was rooting for Tressel and Ohio State in that game, he also said he would be extremely proud of Urban and happy for him personally if the Gators won.
A simple Google search for Urban Meyer and Earle Bruce will yield a multitude of articles outlining the close relationship between Meyer and Coach Bruce. Meyer views Coach Bruce as a 2nd father figure and holds more loyalty to Coach Bruce than anyone else in the industry. That alone doesn’t mean Meyer has to take the OSU job, but it’s certainly an added perk. Last time around, Coach Bruce felt conflicted about rooting for Urban’s team. Hopefully next time, there will be no such issues.