Perhaps you heard about a little, under the radar kerfuffle regarding the Ohio State media staff allegedly submitting doctored game tape to Michigan State. You know who else heard about it? THE REST OF THE SPORTS WORLD. The Detroit Free Press filed a story within an hour of Saturday's game ending, quoting Sparty Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who said, "We had tape cut off all week, where they changed the tape, I’m not gonna lie to you...They send you tape and they’ve got it all cut off and you don’t get to see shifts or motions or anything else."
That sounds like a pretty devious thing for a media staff to do, especially before the biggest game of the season. Never mind the fact that Urban Meyer, it would seem, had no clue what the hell anyone was talking about, let alone the fact that the athletic directors of both schools settled the issue with no Big Ten involvement. This whole incident, if we're to believe Narduzzi, should lead to a modified thinking about the kind of person Urban Meyer is and the kind of program he's running.
And if you believe that last sentence, then you're clearly reading it with troll glasses.
We've experimented with FJM'ing articles in the past and now seems like as good a time as any to hit a few more. Let's look at a few articles about the "incident", and see what the media is saying about it.
Up first, the venerable Teddy Greenstein at the Chicago Tribune.
The topic that made some coaches squirm on Tuesday's Big Ten conference call could be summarized as: Sex, Lies and Videotape.
Minus the sex and possibly the lies.
Okay, I see what you did there, Teddy. And thank God you subtracted the sex because we all know Bret Bielema and Brady Hoke were on that conference call. Teddy goes on to describe the situation and then...
Still it raised questions, considering how both Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio publicly criticized first-year Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in February after the Buckeyes got several orally committed recruits to "flip" their way.
Keep this topic in mind. You'll probably see it a few more times.
Asked if he was concerned that the accusations would damage his reputation in the league, Meyer replied: "It doesn't concern me at all."
Nor should it. This isn't show friends, it's show business, and Meyer understands this and will do everything in his power to put the best team on the field.
And then there was silence on the line.
And J.B. Shugarts still false started! (/requisite)
BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo coached at six schools from 1975-2004 and said he used to hear stories about coaches cutting off the "stem," or pre-play shifting, in the film they shipped.
"It has always been an issue," he said. "You have 10 people (prepare video) in 10 different ways. It used to be with 16 millimeter film, you'd cut and splice it back together and see if they'd catch you."
Let's lean on the elder statesman of the Big Ten Network to give a quote that, in this context, says Ohio State was guilty of something. Nevermind that person is DiNardo, he of the 59-76-1 head coaching record in college and 2-8 in the XFL (<--LOLOL). Maybe he would have won more games if he did what everyone else did?
Now "tape" is digital, and coaches say there's a standard procedure for filming and exchanging that every team follows. Or, perhaps, almost every team.
Almost every team. Whom do you think he's talking about there?
Let's move on to John Supinie writing in the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. His headline probably won't color the story one way or the other, will it?
Big Ten football: Meyer makes enemies among coaches.
Maybe there's just some slight editorial lean.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer isn’t making many friends in the Big Ten Conference in his first year in the league.
He's really missing out on those wild off-season nights off with the likes of Jerry Kill and Kirk Ferentz!
Wisconsin and Michigan State spoke up after Meyer swayed prized oral commitments from each school to switch to Ohio State last winter. Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema called it "SEC tactics.’’ Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio talked about "unethical’’ recruiting.
And we're back to this. Mark and Bret getting all butthurt because Meyer employed supposed tactics supposedly employed by the conference that has
supposedly won the last six national championships. Urban Meyer is a bad man.
Then Michigan State cried foul over the film exchange between the two schools before Ohio State’s 17-16 win Saturday over the Spartans. It sounds like Meyer might be making enemies, but he’s not worried about his reputation throughout the league.
"It doesn’t concern me at all,’’ Meyer said Tuesday.
Maybe it doesn't concern him because, of the myriad things on his to do during game week, cutting four hours of game film isn't on the top of that list? Maybe it doesn't concern him because the last time Urban Meyer cut tape was during the Carter Administration? Just a guess.
"They send you tape, and they’ve got it all cut off and you don’t get to see shifts or motions or anything else,’’ Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press. "So that’s something I’m sure the Big Ten office will hopefully take care of.’’
Or not, since the ADs decided to take care of this by themselves. Supinine continues in his piece to say... wait, that's all he wrote? He doesn't give any real indication or opinion that Meyer is the new, most hated man in the Big Ten? He doesn't give one whiff of the other side of the story? Glad I could be of service.
Finally, just a note from Jeremy Fowler over at CBSSports.com.
File this one in the Urban-Meyer-makes-more-friends-in-the-Big-Ten drawer. The world of presnap motions and shifts made headlines over the weekend as the Detroit Free-Press reported Michigan State was filing a complaint against Ohio State after the Buckeyes doctored opponent's game film.
Three ledes, all alike in dignity, in fair East Lansing...
Apparently this issue was resolved between athletic directors, without Big Ten involvement. The Big Ten requires opposing teams to share the footage each week.
The issue was resolved without conference involvement? So everything's fine, right? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Fowler is still going to take a shot at Urban Meyer because of some recruiting "issues" that may or may not have come up several months ago.
Meyer's has emerged as a Big Ten villain since last recruiting season -- this incident could fuel this persona -- but he's a villain who's now 5-0.
Three different authors, three different sites, three terribly similar conclusions. I get that the reporters and journos covering the vast world of college football have a job to do, and that drawing a line from recruiting "violations" (that lead to precisely nothing) to a calculated attempt on the part of Ohio State's videographers and Meyer himself to deceive Michigan State is a pretty easy way to fill column inches (kind of like doing an FJM article, in all honesty). It's clear to everyone, by these accounts, Urban Meyer is the worst - the Godfather of everything bad in the new Big Ten, bringer of the evil ways of the South to our formerly reputable football conference.
Maybe it's the Buckeye homer in me, but I am going to go ahead and take Meyer at his world that he had no clue what was going on because, simply, it makes sense. Ohio State has a whole staff of people who are responsible for video efforts. Tying Meyer to this isn't necessarily wrong, he's the head of the snake that is the Ohio State football program. but for now, with the facts that are on the table, it's just lazy.