GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Urban Meyer was a legend at the University of Florida for his performance from 2005-2009. But after an ugly ending and a controversial move to Ohio State, the luster has finally come off Meyer’s coaching prowess.
In an article for the Sporting News released Monday, the details of Meyer’s run at UF were detailed and if true, showed a broken program that should squarely be blamed on Urban Meyer.
It was just last season that Meyer was sitting in an ESPN studio criticizing the ugly side of college football in scandals at the University of Miami and several other schools. But it was Meyer’s program that could have been labeled as completely dysfunctional, according to the Sporting News.
“The program was out of control,” former Florida safety Bryan Thomas told the Sporting News.
Part of the problem, according to the report, is that Meyer’s players said he developed a “circle of trust” group of players that could get away with anything and Meyer would look the other way because of their talent on the football field.
Former players told the Sporting News that future pro stars Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, and Aaron Hernandez all missed a game due to failed drug tests for marijuana. Officially, Meyer reported that the three were injured.
The Sporting News’ investigation pointed to Harvin as getting the most preferential treatment. The Sporting News said multiple players confirmed that Harvin physically attacked wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales by grabbing him by the neck and throwing him to the ground.
It took two other assistant coaches to pull Harvin off Gonzales, players told the Sporting News, but Harvin was never disciplined. Gonzales would later resign by putting his keys, cell phone, and a resignation letter on Meyer’s desk.
More than 30 players were arrested in Meyer’s six seasons. Tight end Aaron Hernandez admitted to failing a drug test at UF which cost his draft stock. Harvin failed a drug test at the NFL combine and caused him to slip in the first round, according to the Sporting News.
All of it has left current Gators head coach Will Muschamp with the unenviable task of trying to rebuild the Gators program from the shambles Meyer left it in. Muschamp went 6-6 in his first season, which was a tough pill to swallow for fans used to 11-14 wins a season and contending for the national championship.
For Meyer, he is now the most popular person in the state of Ohio and is said to be reinvigorated after taking a year off to deal with “health issues.”
Meyer already has a less than stellar image in his new conference, the Big Ten. Coaches in the conference had a gentleman’s agreement not to try to get players to switch their commitments to other Big Ten schools.
Meyer came in and got eight star players to back off verbal commitments to other Big Ten schools and to sign with the Buckeyes. Meyer said the conference better get used to it because he’s going to continue to do it and make the Big Ten recruiting as tough as that in the Southeastern Conference.