Late Friday evening Cleveland.com broke the story that both Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort would be losing their scholarships for the summer, and would be banned from team activities. Given the recent outbreak on the Ohio State Twittisphere, including the comments on the article, people are a little disturbed by such a harsh reaction. I would say there is good reason for this outrage, but I believe there is a deeper meaning behind what Coach Meyer is trying to do.
As Buckeye fans, nothing could have ended our misery at the end of last season like the announcement of Urban Meyer as Head Coach of The Ohio State University. As we basked in the glory of being able to instantly forget our worst season since 1988, there were snickers from that conference down south. The biggest criticism you ask? Meyer’s apparent issue with having players arrested under his watch. 30 players were arrested in 6 years at Florida under Coach Meyer. It is very clear that Meyer is showing he has no tolerance for actions leading to an arrest, and his words are going to ring loud and clear within that locker room.
via the Cleveland.com article:
“We are disappointed with the decisions made recently by two of our football players,” Meyer said in the statement Friday. “Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort will each be removed from athletic scholarship beginning with the summer term, and they will continue to be suspended from team activities until stipulations are successfully met. They will have an opportunity to return to the team in good standing following the summer session.”
That quote in itself says what it needs to. Urban isn’t messing around with this kind of activity, as dumb of a thing as the actual arrest itself was. Yes, we can all agree that getting arrested, booked, and charged for taking a leak outside on a building is ridiculous, I’ve done it a million times. But the point doesn’t require the severity of the action itself, it requires the level of action he is willing to take to keep this teams integrity where it belongs. Scandal after scandal has rocked Ohio State recently, and Urban is making it very clear to his players that he will accept nothing but the best behavior both on, and off the field.
By revoking the scholarships, and excluding two prominent parts of the current team, Meyer is showing the rest of the team that he plays no favorites, and that no mistake will go unpunished. We can all be confident that at the beginning of the season, we will see Stoneburner and Mewhort suited and booted in the Scarlet and Gray. But until that opening kickoff, with this little issue in their minds, I would expect the rest of the team to be nothing but business, and it may just help us in the end.