According to USA Today, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will not suspend offensive lineman Marcus Hall and speedster Dontre Wilson for their actions in last Saturday’s brawl in the Big House with Michigan. Both players were ejected in the first half for throwing punches following a Wilson return.
By rule, both players are allowed to play this weekend. Had they have been suspended in the second half of the game, then they would be ruled ineligible for the Big Ten Championship game this coming week against Michigan State. It was up to Ohio State to decide on whether their players were going to play or not, and Meyer told reporters that they will indeed be suiting up and ready for action this coming Saturday.
Yet again, Urban Meyer’s comments has the college football world buzzing. Just a couple weeks ago, Meyer came out and called the BCS a flawed system, something that everyone already knew. For his recent comments, the ethics debate is taking center stage.
All throughout football, you find coaches struggling with their desire to win while maintaining high level ethics and morals. For Meyer and the Buckeyes, this struggle takes center stage. Both Hall and Wilson play key roles on this team and without them, the Buckeyes would certainly lose some of their edge. Hall is the team’s starting right guard while Wilson is a dangerously-fast utility man.
There is a lot riding on the line for the Buckeyes on Saturday evening when they go head-to-head with the Spartans. Not only would a win secure a Big Ten Championship, but it would all but lock up a trip to the National Championship game. For Meyer, that’s not all that’s on the line.
As Forbes.com points out, Meyer is staring down the face of a $4.2 million payday with win in Detroit. As Chris Smith outlines, Meyer’s contract guarantees him $4 million annually. If Meyer were to lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship and National Championship, then you can tack-on $200,000 to this year’s paycheck.
Without Hall and Wilson, defeating Michigan State and banking that extra $200,000 becomes a much harder task for Meyer. While you’d hate to believe that Meyer’s decision was made based off of the financial implications, college football is as big a business as the NFL, and money plays a big role throughout the NCAA sports world.
The struggle between winning and maintaining ethics will never come to an end. Teams will do whatever they possibly can in order to win the big game. While they may try to maintain a high standard of morals, sometimes ethics can take a back seat when you throw in the magical dollar sign. I’m not saying that Meyer is guilty of this (in fact, a part of me strongly thinks he isn’t), but it’s certainly an interesting little add-on to an already controversial decision.