Posted by Adam Jacobi
After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting the inevitable: former Florida head coach Urban Meyer will be Ohio State's next head coach. According to the report, Meyer's agreement is in principle, as contract details have not been arranged, but those are often not finalized until after a head coach has been officially hired.
Two well-placed sources at Ohio State University confirmed for The Dispatch this morning that Urban Meyer will be announced next week as the next head football coach of the Buckeyes.
Also, the sources said that though interim head coach Luke Fickell has not been in the loop, he will be taken care of when or if Meyer accepts the job. In what capacity, the sources weren’t sure.
Meyer had been a head coach with Bowling Green and Utah for two years apiece before assuming the lead role at Florida in 2005. He led the Gators to two national championships (2006, 2008) before resigning due to health concerns after the 2010 season. Meyer made a similar resignation in 2009, vowing in December to coach the team's bowl game and leave aftwards, but he soon backed off that plan and coached the Gators as usual the next year.
Meyer is still only 47 (48 at the beginning of the 2012 football season), so youth would appear to be on his side. And yet, the health concerns that have dogged him at Florida have primarily been stress-related, so unless he takes a markedly different approach to coaching at Ohio State, it stands to reason that health may be a concern again. Of course, it also stands to reason that Ohio State is acutely aware of this fact and will adjust its expectations of Meyer accordingly. If both parties have agreed to an arrangement, the issue would almost certainly have to be resolved.
This report seems to refute Meyer's statement made Wednesday morning through ESPN, which read in full: "I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further." While it is generally agreed upon that there has been no formal offer of a job, to describe the situation as reported by the Dispatch as "no deal in place" strains the limits of linguistic semantics.
Ohio State is still awaiting word from the NCAA on its football program's fate; the Buckeyes have been rocked by allegations of widespread impermissible benefits to past and present players, and the program has seen the resignation of beloved head coach Jim Tressel, permanent ineligibility for starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, 12 vacated wins, and over 30 games' worth of suspensions handed down to current Buckeyes this season (including 10 for star wideout DeVier Posey, who just returned to play last Saturday). There has been no indication from the NCAA when the Committee on Infractions will rule on the OSU program, though it is expected to happen well before the start of next season.