Ohio State coach Urban Meyer does not seem to care at all about making friends around the Big Ten. And that probably is the best thing for the conference.
Last year, coaches (most notably Bret Bielema, who is at Arkansas now) complained about Meyer stealing previously committed recruits. Meyer basically laughed. This year, he had the No. 2 recruiting class in the Rivals.com rankings, and scolded the rest of the Big Ten for not recruiting on his level.
The other coaches are gonna love hearing that. The thing is, it's 100 percent true.
“We do need to as a conference need to keep pushing that envelope to be better,” Meyer said to 97.1 The Fan, via Larry Brown Sports. “Our whole conversation [at the Big Ten coaches meeting] needs to be about ‘how do we recruit?’ When you see 11 of the SEC teams are in the top 25 that’s something that we need to improve.”
And Meyer isn't just saying that during a radio interview, he's planning on being proactive about the Big Ten's horrible recruiting:
Urban Meyer tells 97.1 The Fan he will address the poor recruiting in the B1G directly with those coaches at the upcoming coaches meeting.
— jbook (@jbook37) February 7, 2013
We would LOVE to listen in on that conversation.
The Urban Meyer effect hasn't just hit the Big Ten in public lectures to other coaches about how poorly they are doing. With Meyer recruiting like he's still in the SEC, other Big Ten schools have had to increase their recruiting budgets.
The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa obtained football recruiting budget numbers for every public Big Ten school, found that many spent significantly more on recruiting in 2012, Meyer's first year in the league, than in 2011 and wondered if Meyer's presence was the reason.
Eight of the 10 schools that reported figures for both years (Northwestern is a private school and didn't disclose its budgets and Penn State claimed it hadn't finalized its 2012 numbers) spent more money on football recruiting in 2012, according to the Gazette, and some had huge increases. Three schools increased their budgets by at least $100,000 and Iowa barely missed the cut with an increase of about $96,000. Nebraska increased its recruiting spending from $478,554 to $752,681, the Gazette reported.
Is that in large part because of Meyer? Perhaps. There are other factors involved aside from a new coach at Ohio State. But it's hard to deny Meyer has had at least some impact on the extra spending. So the conference's bean counters will have as much reason to hate Meyer as their coaches do.
What this week proved, however, is that even though the Big Ten schools are investing more in their football recruiting, it still wasn't good enough for Meyer. The rest of the conference (aside from Michigan, which also had a class ranked in the top five by Rivals) better pick up their recruiting game, or good luck catching Meyer and the Buckeyes anytime soon. No matter how difficult that is to hear.
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