This is not a good day for the Big Ten.
I like to believe that the Big Ten represents, all things considered, what bigtime universities ought to be in this country.
Great education. Critical molding of young people to be good citizens and keepers of the American flame. And of course, athletic teams that excel at the highest levels while adhering to principles of character.
I know that’s often a bunch of baloney. But I rationalize it by saying: ``Well, every major conference has its flaws.’’ And by saying: ``The money makes the stakes too high.’’ And by saying, ``At least the Big Ten—’’
Oh, never mind.
This Urban Meyer situation is a huge reminder that the Big Ten—for all of commissioner Jim Delany’s lofty assertions, for all of the pronouncements about education and values, for all the fine people who fill all the historic stadiums on Saturdays—is a prisoner of success—both on the field and financially—just like everyone else.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
I don’t know what the right anwer to the Urban Meyer Question would have been.
I do strongly believe that a less accomplished coach would have been shown the door—or at least given more than a three-game slap on the wrist.
Maybe people who worship victory won’t care that he failed to deal with a problem-laden assistant coach. We tend to do that. We overlook flaws and missteps among successful leaders.
The picture coming out of Columbus is one of school officials trying to appear concerned about Meyer’s failure to address Zach Smith’s transgressions while ensuring that their national championship coach was able to pursue more national championships.
Maybe they have accomplished that.
But if we’re going to be honest, this whole messy business will be accompanied by lingering fallout.
Although Meyer will go on, I believe his reputation and legacy are forever changed.
Although Ohio State will go on, it has made its statement about what’s important.
Although the Big Ten will go on, its lofty declarations about what it stands for should come with an asterisk. Again.
This is not a good day for anyone involved. It never is when winning trumps principles and values.[/membership]