Monday, 22nd April 2024

8/26/2013: State of the Big Ten, Volume 95 (premium)

Posted on 26. Aug, 2013 by in Iowa Basketball, Iowa Football


Every Monday, we will be running a weekly series titled “State of the Big Ten,” which will be made available to all members of This series of columns will focus on one major headline regarding the conference and go in-depth on the subject at hand.

By Brendan Stiles

A somewhat bizarre story sufficed out of Columbus, Ohio late last week when it was reported that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s anti-blue colored clothing policy at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center went so far that two NFL scouts attending a Buckeyes’ practice actually got asked to change into Ohio State shirts because they happened to be wearing the color blue. The blue, obviously, is in reference to Michigan having maize and blue as its school colors.

It’s one thing to control what players do and those in associated with a football program do. But this is an example of taking something too far.

Look, it’s obvious why Meyer did this and the rivalry aspect of things is what will be used by him and others at Ohio State as justifications for these actions. But this isn’t something that will do him or his program any favors long-term.

NFL scouts probably shouldn’t let personal agendas get in the way of the work they’re doing for the team they represent, but there’s no guarantee that the scouts who were asked to change shirts won’t hold that against a Buckeye player they’re thinking about drafting. Sure, the player did nothing wrong, but it’s more about the culture than anything else.

What’s supposed to happen if, for example, a New York Giants scout travels to Columbus to watch a practice and they wear a blue polo with the Giants logo on it? They can’t wear a polo featuring a logo of the team they work for because Meyer won’t let anyone wear blue to his practices? It doesn’t make sense.

Then there are reporters who cover Ohio State, who if anything try to avoid wearing scarlet and gray at all costs. Is Meyer going to toss a reporter out of a press conference for wearing blue jeans? This hasn’t happened, but it’s a hypothetical to think about now in light of this story. And let’s say a reporter did wear blue of some kind to a Meyer press conference. That reporter is probably smart enough to make sure there’s no sort of Michigan emblem or anything on said piece of blue clothing.

If Meyer were to make this policy a team rule that his players have to abide by, that’s his prerogative because it’s his program and his players have to listen to him. But to try enforcing that type of control on others who have no affiliation to the program is taking it too far. No other Big Ten coach (heck, probably no other college football coach) has this sort of policy.

The name-calling done between Ohio State and Michigan is one thing because both sides do it and everyone not associated with either school sees the humor. But this is over the top and just to be clear, it’d be just as over the top if Brady Hoke barred NFL scouts and/or reporters from ever wearing red around Michigan’s facilities. There’s no double standard here, or at least there shouldn’t be.

While the premise of this policy is associated with a rival school, enforcing this on third parties that there’s some sort of relationship or connection with just isn’t wise, whether it’s an NFL team, a media outlet or whomever.

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