Urban Meyer and his former employer, the University of Florida, have shared a few less-than-desirable headlines this week.
The former UF football coach refused to comment Monday on his relationship with former Gator and alleged murderer Aaron Hernandez, whose possible involvement in a 2007 Gainesville shooting reportedly has authorities revisiting details of the incident, which left two men wounded.
Now Meyer, currently the head coach at Ohio State, is denying any role in reporting a UF assistant coach to the NCAA for secondary recruiting violations in the pursuit of a heralded high school prospect.
A FoxSports.com report Wednesday said Meyer and Ohio State turned in Gators running backs coach Brian White, a former Meyer assistant, for allegedly contacting coveted Brooklyn, N.Y., running back/receiver/defensive back Curtis Samuel during a non-contact period on the NCAA’s recruiting calendar.
Such a move — a coach reporting a former assistant — is uncommon in college sports, the report said, though schools regularly report other schools for perceived violations.
Meyer denied to the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch that he had any role in reporting UF, but he acknowledged to the Gainesville Sun that Ohio State’s compliance office filed a complaint — its second against Florida in two years — to the NCAA.
“It is absolutely not true that I turned in the University of Florida,” Meyer said in a text message to the Sun. “Weeks after, I learned our compliance guy (without any coach involvement) forwarded an article to the conference office. This is standard procedure. Once again, zero coach involvement.”
As the NCAA investigated the claim against White, the UF assistant had to leave the recruiting trail for three days. He was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but a bigger consequence might have come from it.
Samuel, a U.S. Army All-American who will be a senior this fall and has drawn comparisons to former Gator Percy Harvin, didn’t list Florida as a finalist for his services. He did list Ohio State.
That the Buckeyes have stayed in contention for Samuel isn’t a surprise — his coach at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn told the New York Daily News that Meyer calls each week — but Samuel at one point planned to visit Gainesville. White, who has coached at eight schools over a 27-year career, was Samuel’s lead recruiter.