Urban Meyer is Missing from ESPN OTL Report on Florida Gators


A few days ago, a scathing and detailed report on former Florida Gator athletes having issues with the law, hit the internet with a buzz.

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The report itself documents a troubling timeline from 2009-2014 in UF athletics, where athletes essentially did whatever they so pleased, whenever they pleased.

Paula Lavigne writes how the University of Florida has the most athletes named in suspects for crimes without being charged for them since 2009.

Eighty athletes or 24 percent of UF’s athletic roster, were somehow involved or suspected in a crime, yet seemingly escaped any kind of major punishment.

The only thing that the report strangely does is that there is no mention of Florida’s head coach from 2005-2010, Urban Meyer.

Lavigne documents how former linebacker Ronald Powell allegedly had cocaine residue in his rental car but the officer on-site gave Powell only a warning for a lane violation.

She writes how Janoris Jenkins was arrested for resisting and fighting a police officer, yet Jenkins’ attorneys’ managed to get all charges dismissed in court.

Do yourself a favor and go read the report in its entirety; it’s quite dumbfounding just how much the players at UF and at other universities got away with.

Nov 9, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell (7) rushes against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Many will claim that Florida players were unfairly singled out among other college students that were doing the same kinds of things.

Others will claim that ESPN is beating the proverbial dead horse that was the misdeeds of the UF program.

My issue with the report isn’t the fact that it exposes the seedy underbelly of a program that many college football fans (and Gator fans) try so hard to ignore.

My issue is that, the ringleader, the general, the man that steered the university’s football program isn’t connected to the actions of these athletes at all.

Many of these arrests and stories started to appear near the tail end of Meyer’s tenure in Gainesville. Years of recruiting suspect and shady players to Florida eventually took its toll on the program.

Meyer is the one who ultimately brought about this cloud of negativity and sense of entitlement that many people around and supporting the program were already sick of.

Urban Meyer did not leave the University of Florida due to health reasons and wanting to spend time with family.

He left because he knew reports like the one ESPN and Outside the Lines created would ultimately connect back to him and nail him to the wall.

And it appears not much has changed his recruiting style at Ohio State.

Sep 21, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer against Florida A&M Rattlers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

For all the great, winning football that Meyer brought to the University of Florida, he equally brought a plague of miscreants.

For all the stand-up individuals Meyer brought to the Gators, the shadow of the criminals he also brought to campus looms larger.

And that’s where I think the OTL report falls just shy of being a phenomenal, extraordinary example of good journalism.

It’s a shame really.

ESPN had a chance to redeem some more journalist credibility; they had a chance to connect the dots back to the man who brought it all on UF.

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Yet for whatever reason, whether it’s because Meyer and ESPN have the most irresistible affection for each other or that ESPN and the NCAA believe Meyer has already paid for his actions, the ball was dropped at the most inopportune time.

The players obviously need to be held accountable for their actions.

But once you cut the strings and look past the marionettes, you’ll find that the puppet master is really the shadiest of them all.

What do you think? Should Urban Meyer be held accountable for his tenure at Florida? Let us know what you think?

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