Our view: We should be dismayed that Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer took no significant action regarding a staffer’s history of violence against his former wife.
We should not be surprised.
Why we believe that: College athletics, simply put, is out of control. Nick Saban makes at least $7.5 million a year to coach a college team down in Alabama. That’s before any bonuses kick in. Meyer, one of a handful of current coaches to have won a national title, pulls in $7.6 million at Ohio State.
Think there is any pressure to win when you are drawing that kind of paycheck?
Meyer and Saban and all the other coaches at big-time programs earn those big dollars by asking young men in their late teens and early 20s to knock other young men to the ground or avoid being knocked to the ground.
They fill stadiums larger than any NFL team. The passion of their fans is unmatched. So are the expectations.
And that is how we end up with a coach keeping another loyal, talented coach with great recruiting connections on his staff, even when his better judgment tells him to cut the ties.
Here are the core values listed on a wall in the Ohio State locker room:
HonestyTreat women with respectNo drugsNo stealingNo weapons
Urban Meyer is a smart man. He is a talented coach. But the pressure to win, and keep winning, can push aside the sensibilities of many smart coaches.
Meyer is no different.
Was he wrong? Absolutely.
But in the farce that we call big-time college athletics, where coaches and universities collect millions annually and players are reminded to be thankful for a free education and never mind the fact their jersey is selling like hotcakes at the store, this is not surprising.
In conclusion: If Meyer, as has been reported, knew there was a pattern of violence against a woman from one of his coaches, no excuse that will suffice. But Meyer’s actions are not unique. A new scandal rocks the world of college sports every few months. Sometimes it’s bogus classes. Sometimes it’s coaches looking the other way when the young men they coach assault fellow students. And sometimes it’s the grownups who misbehave. The script is the same, only the details are different.