This past recruiting season the new Ohio State football boss Meyer managed to flip his fair share share of recruits including Mark Dantonio’s top recruit in Se’Von Pittman. The same can be said for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin who lost prized offensive lineman Kyle Dodson on recruiting day to Ohio State.
“(Ohio State has) a new coach, and it’s different,” Dantonio told the Detroit News. “I would say it’s pretty unethical, in the end.”
Bielema echoed those sentiments after losing prized offensive lineman Kyle Dodson to Ohio State on signing day.
“There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues,” Bielema said on Wednesday. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal.
“I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified.”
According to AnnArbor.com, Bielema told Sporting News that Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney today in Chicago about Meyer’s tactics.
Now you may be wondering why Bielema and Dantonio are so upset in a conference that’s extremely competitive and takes great pride in their rivalries?
It all boils down to a so-called “gentleman’s agreement” amongst the Big Ten coaches.
Bielema further called Meyer’s recruiting tactics “illegal” in light of the “gentleman’s agreement” which says that no coach in the Big Ten will actively go after a recruit that is already verbally committed to another Big Ten school.
Not all Big Ten coaches though agree on this “gentlemen’s agreement” and on those coaches is Michigan’s Brady Hoke…
“As far as I’ve known, it’s always been fair game until they sign,” said Hoke, who’s been in the league one year as a head coach and seven as an assistant. “I don’t have as much a problem with that and, hopefully, we don’t get too many of those that go away from you.
“But, I don’t think there needs to be an agreement, to be honest with you. Kids are going to be kids. They’re 18 years old, 17 years old. As long as everything has been handled in an ethical manner and professional manner, and by the rules, I don’t have a problem with it.”
Now Hoke hasn’t experienced the same draw backs that Dantonio and Bielema have experienced with recruits flipping to Ohio State. In fact Hoke was able to flip five-star offensive lineman Kyle Kalis from Ohio State prior to Meyer being announced as the new head coach.
Again though in a competitive conference with top notch coaches it should be expected that programs are going to do everything they possibly can to make their teams better. This includes trying to flip rival schools recruits to their own.
In the end a verbal commitment means nothing. Hoke isn't about making excuses about anything. He knows the game and isn't going to whine about anything.
Now about those 16 scholarships OSU had open and oversigning at 25 commitments is another story.