Barry Alvarez sides with Urban Meyer in the burgeoning Big Ten recruiting wars

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Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez doesn't seem nearly as upset with Urban Meyer's recruiting tactics as his coach Bret Bielema.

Bielema has taken a little bit of heat for his crusade against Urban Meyer's recruiting tactics at Ohio State as he continues to push for some authority figure to recognize and perhaps reprimand Meyer for his potential recruiting misdeeds.

But Alvarez isn't buying. Today, he told ESPN's Joe Schad that he has no plans to speak with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany - as reportedly requested by Bielema - and then the former Wisconsin coach more or less defended Meyer's tactics while seemingly undermining his current coach's plight.

"Recruiting is recruiting until they sign," Alvarez told ESPN's Joe Schad. "If we had somebody who changed their mind and came to us, that's OK. Urban was very aggressive but there is no pact within the conference not to continue to recruit. Open season until they sign."

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also came to his head coach's defense, releasing a statement that commended Meyer and his staff for having a "compliance conscience since they have arrived" — which has to be refreshing at Ohio State — and that if a coach has an issue it will be handled by the athletic directors.

"I am disappointed that negative references have been made about our football coaches, and particularly head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting," Smith said. "In our league appropriate protocol, if you have concerns, is to share those concerns with your Athletic Director (AD). Then your AD will make the determination on the appropriate communication from that point forward. The ADs in our league are professionals and communicate with each other extremely well. Urban Meyer and his staff have had a compliance conscience since they have arrived."

But why is Bielema pushing so hard? Aside from the fact that he said he doesn't want the Big Ten to become the SEC, perhaps it's because of the way former Wisconsin commit — now Ohio State signee — Kyle Dodson announced his pledge to the Buckeye, in a singsong kind of rap.

Dodson, a four-star offensive tackle from Cleveland, was one of the jewels of Wisconsin's class, but was wooed away to Columbus when Meyer became a Buckeye. Maybe the Badgers would have fared better if they could have gotten him an audition on "American Idol."

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham

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