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February 13, 2013

Meyer speaks out on new NCAA rules

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- To say that Urban Meyer is a ruthless recruiter would be an understatement. After all, it was just on year ago that the then first-year Ohio State coach unapologetically made a splash by convincing commits from Big Ten foes Penn State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin to spend their college careers in Columbus.

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got nine guys who better go do it again," Meyer said while speaking at the 2012 Ohio High School coaches clinic. "Do it a little harder next time."

Flipping players from Michigan, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Oregon to help him seal the country's second-ranked class on National Signing Day a week ago, Meyer's stance on aggressive recruiting hasn't changed. In fact, the two-time national champion coach knows that the better the player that he tries to recruit, the more likely it is that other schools will be after him.

"It's a feeding frenzy out there," Meyer said. "Say you offer committed players, let me make this real clear: Everybody does that. And it's not wrong, okay? At the end of the day the young person has the right to go to any school he likes."

But while Meyer is willing to go after committed players and welcomes the challenge of other schools coming after his, there is a line that the second-year OSU coach is willing to draw.

Last month, the NCAA Board of Directors approve rulebook revisions that essentially deregulates contact between coaches and college prospects in the recruiting process. Beginning July 1, coaches will be allowed to unlimitedly contact recruits through various forms of communication- text message, phone call, mail- following their sophomore seasons.

Asked about the new NCAA legislation, Meyer made it clear that he's not a fan.

"Bad stuff," Meyer said of the rules. "I disagree with most of them. I know there's some people, I would imagine not many of them were recruited who wrote those letters. That's my question, who comes up with that? Have they actually got in a car and went and recruited sophomores in high school? ... Could you imagine what's going to be rolling into kids' driveways and fatheads and magnets? It's nonsense."

Meyer isn't the only coach concerned about the state of college recruiting. Nebraska's Bo Pelini echoed the OSU coach's sentiment in stating that the new rules are leading college football down "the wrong road" and on Monday the Big Ten issued a statement on behalf of its coaches and athletic directors asking that three of the proposals associated with these changes be tabled for further discussion.

"We have serious concerns whether these proposals, as currently written, are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.We are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources," the statement read. "We look forward to working with the NCAA toward improving the game, the recruiting process and the overall college football experience for all student-athletes."

Having attracted six top-five recruiting classes without a major violation between his time at Florida and Ohio State, Meyer would prefer that the NCAA add stricter guidelines rather than loosen the ones that they currently have in place.

"I'm not a big fan of deregulation," Meyer said. "I'm a big fan of firm, harsh penalties for people who break rules, not saying, 'We can't follow all this stuff so have at it.' I don't agree with that at all."

It remains to be seen whether or not the NCAA will listen the Big Ten's recommendations. But regardless of what rules are in place come July 1, Meyer knows that there's only so much that he can do to add a seventh top-five class to his resume in 2014.

"Whose choice is it? The media? No, it's not your choice. It's not the coach's choice," Meyer said. "It's the 18-year-old's choice and his family's to go to whatever school he wants."



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