How much more college coaching can Meyer take?

Rob Oller
Considering all that college coaching entails, one has to wonder if recent events, topped by a three-game suspension, have Urban Meyer mulling his options. [Adam Cairns]

Included in the heated conversations centering on Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is the debate over job responsibilities. How much should Meyer, or any college football coach, be expected to know about every detail involving the program?

A little? A lot? Everything? One side argues that Meyer should not have to monitor the marital status of his assistant coaches. The counter is that as overseer of OSU football, Meyer must keep an eye on everything from an assistant coach’s personal issues to what special deliveries — ahem — arrive at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Meyer’s contract also calls for him to follow strict procedures regarding possible Title IX and NCAA infractions when he sees them. This isn’t the NFL, which may explain why some coaches can’t jump from college to the pro ranks fast enough.

College coaching requires an all-in commitment, not only to winning games and developing young people but also to keeping up with compliance and current culture, to better relate to recruits. Over a 12-month period the work hours are more than in the NFL, given the time that must be devoted to recruiting.

Considering all that college coaching entails, one has to wonder if recent events, topped by a three-game suspension, have Meyer mulling his options. He has consistently insisted that his desire is to remain a college coach, explaining that he has declined a handful of NFL opportunities. But the past six weeks could not have been easy for him to swallow.

Not only did Meyer feel the need to defend himself against allegations that he was too soft on domestic violence, but the 23-page committee report dropped this bomb on his reputation: As a result of “incorrectly denying” to the media that he knew of allegations of abuse against Zach Smith in 2015, Meyer “has cast doubt on his own honesty in a way that reflects adversely on him, the football program and Ohio State.”

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That conclusion will leave a mark. How deep? And how quickly will it heal? Meyer loves coaching college, and it helps that he is extremely good at it. Can he move forward knowing his integrity has been questioned by the very institution that until recently acted like he could do no wrong?

Meyer was not available to answer on Monday, because he is suspended without pay through Sept. 2. Instead, Ohio State acting head coach Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano took turns addressing the media. Both have experience coaching at the college and NFL levels — Day as quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as holding several positions at colleges; Schiano served as head coach at Rutgers and also with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I asked both to distinguish the positives and negatives of college and NFL coaching.

“As a college football coach you’re responsible for a lot of things, a lot of people,” Schiano said. “And that’s what you signed up for.”

Which job creates more stress?

“In college football it’s a lifestyle. The way I put it to people, with the NFL six months of the year you work a normal job,” Schiano said. “You go in 7:30 or 8 and you’re home for dinner. College football, that’s not the case. Your family better be part of it because there’s not time for both.”

Day added, “When you’re in the NFL, it’s a business, for sure. … A lot of guys get hired and fired and a lot of guys get cut.”

Meyer was not cut, but he has to feel he got burned. How quickly will he heal?