COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There must have been a lot of interesting give-and-take when the Big Ten football coaches met at the conference offices on Friday.
New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer faced off with at least a couple of coaches who have been reported saying they question his poaching of recruits who had already committed to other programs.
Meyer’s first recruiting class on Wednesday included eight players who initially had said they were attending another school, including four who originally said they were going to Penn State and one each who had declared they would go to Michigan State and Wisconsin. Two others had verbally committed to Notre Dame.
“We had an opportunity to discuss a number of issues with each other and conference staff, including those that have arisen this week,” Meyer said in a statement issued after the meeting on Friday. “It should be noted that my coaching staff is in full compliance with our recruiting efforts, and no one on this staff did anything illegal or unethical.”
He said his staff would continue to be “relentless.”
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, in particular, have been quoted expressing their displeasure with Ohio State raiding other team’s recruits.
Bielema was upset over losing out on offensive lineman Kyle Dodson, who had said he was coming to Wisconsin, but then ended up signing with the Buckeyes.
“There’s a few things that happened early on I made people be aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league that I had seen take place at other leagues,” Bielema said on Wednesday’s first day for the signing of national letters of intent in football. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. I was very up front and was very poignant to the fact. I actually reached out to coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him and the situation got rectified.”
Bielema did not go into further detail.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Dantonio also said Meyer was not living up to protocol between Big Ten coaches.
The newspaper reports that Dantonio on Wednesday said of Ohio State that, “It’s a new program, a new head coach and a new testing of the waters.”
“It’s a two-way street. It’s always a two-way street. There’s always got to be the other person listening as well. But I do think that when it becomes a matter of twisting somebody — when you’re a 50-year-old man or a 40-year-old man twisting a 17-year-old — that’s when it’s wrong,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s happening in the Big Ten Conference. But I see that happening around the country, when somebody de-commits on the day of signing.
“That’s when you have to wonder about the tactics.”