An interesting story on the Sporting News website takes a look at coach Urban Meyer's tenure at Florida and the lack of control he supposedly had over the top players in the program.
The headline on the story pretty much says it all: "From champs to chomped: How Urban Meyer broke Florida football"
Most interesting to University of Wisconsin football fans is a brief portion of the story that deals with the nature of the alleged recruiting violations by Meyer that Badgers coach Bret Bielema spoke out about on signing day.
Bielema accused Meyer, the new coach at Ohio State, of illegal recruiting tactics.
Matt Hayes, who wrote the story, cites sources as saying UW accused Meyer and his staff of using former Ohio State NFL players to call high school recruits.
UW coaches also accused Meyer and his staff of "bumping" into offensive lineman Kyle Dodson -- who was committed to the Badgers at the time -- during recruiting dead periods. Dodson later changed his mind and signed with the Buckeyes.
Both the alleged phone calls and "bumping" are NCAA violations.
Bielema's remarks were misinterpreted by many in the national media as accusing Meyer of breaking a "gentleman's agreement" about not poaching players who had given oral commitments to other Big Ten Conference schools.
The confusion came about because Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked about a gentleman's agreement that he said existed in the conference previously between former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.
"Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio would never call or talk to each other’s commitments," Narduzzi told the Canton (Ohio) Repository. "People coach Dantonio knows well don’t come in and take players away. When you do, you lose friendships over that."
Since Bielema has signed players who previously committed to other conference schools, he was never referring to that practice.
Bielema declined to comment to Sporting News on the specific allegations he was making. But he clarified the confusion over his remarks a day after signing day.
“I wasn’t upset with Urban because of a gentlemen’s agreement," Bielema told Sporting News. "It was something else that I don’t want to get into. I told him what I knew, and he said he would take care of it and he did.”
Meyer told Sporting News the alleged incidents happened before he was hired on Nov. 28, 2011. He said he investigated the allegations, talking to the coaches involved and denied any wrongdoing.
“Let me make one thing very clear,” Meyer told Sporting News. “There are no issues with Urban Meyer and the NCAA.”