The headlines this morning read, “Urban Meyer Officially Joins Buckeyes.” Despite retiring as the head coach at the University of Florida less than a year ago after citing time with family and health reasons, Meyer will take the helm of one of the most prominent teams in college football.
I’m willing to understand his statement that his retirement was a mistake and he missed football. He has given his family assurances that his over-commitment will not be a problem again. OK.
My issue is, was he lying less than a week ago when he denied being offered a job from Ohio State? A job that apparently was in discussion at the time? If so, is he lying now when he says coaching won’t be an issue in his commitment to his family and his health? Will he be truthful when winning, his program or his job is on the line?
Maybe I’m wrong here, but we penalize players for their moral lapses, yet ignore and even condone deception in coaches. “I’m going nowhere!” – stated just hours before leaving for a more lucrative and desirable position. “No job has been offered.” – mere days before announcing this non-existent position has been accepted.
I know all the reasons and rationalizations behind these “white lies,” there are worse moral failures out there (I’m certainly not comparing a coaches’ deception over a job to the current scandals at other schools), and perhaps it’s too much to ask in our society for simple honesty. Maybe that’s a part of the problem. If we aren’t careful in the small things, will we continue to succeed in the larger?