Urban Meyer Has Found a New (But Familiar) Home After His Catastrophic Jaguars Stint

Article Highlights:

  • Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is back working with Ohio State University again … sort of
  • The longtime Buckeyes coach recently began working for THE Foundation, the collective founded to further the Buckeyes’ NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) activities
  • There is no reason why Ohio State should want Meyer anywhere near the Buckeyes after how his time in Columbus ended

If and when football fans mentioned the idea of a homecoming when the Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach Urban Meyer in December 2021, a reunion with Fox Sports, his previous employer, made sense. Few, if any, would have expected the longtime college football icon to return to Ohio State University, where he and the Buckeyes dominated the Big Ten from 2018-28.

That shows what we know, doesn’t it?

Urban Meyer is now working with Ohio State on name, image, and likeness (NIL)

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer in 2021.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer is back at Ohio State | Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Technically speaking, Ohio State did not rehire Meyer. He is not a coach, he is not working in the athletic department, and he does not have a new role with the university proper.

Instead, he’ll be working with the university on NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness). According to the Columbus Dispatch, Meyer recently joined THE Foundation, the collective founded to further the Buckeyes’ NIL activities, and will serve on its board of directors.

Columbus real estate developer Brian Schottenstein and former Buckeye quarterback Cardale Jones co-founded THE Foundation earlier this year, and it will officially launch later this month. Schottenstein, whose family has given a significant amount of money to Ohio State over the years, explained why he brought Meyer into the fold.

“There isn’t a better person to have on the board than Coach Urban Meyer. It goes without saying that he’s one of the greatest recruiters of student-athletes and coaches of all time. I appreciate his support and friendship.”

Urban Meyer

Former Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett, who played for Meyer from 2013-17 and signed to play in the Canadian Football League earlier this year, is also on the board of directors.

There is no reason why Ohio State should want Meyer anywhere near the Buckeyes’ program

Schottenstein already has a good core in place to assist Ohio State with NIL and any problems that arise in the coming years. Barrett and Jones each played at the school and won a national championship following the 2014 season. 

With respect to Meyer, however, his inclusion is a strange one, especially after how things ended in Columbus. Ohio State suspended him for the 2018 season’s first three games for how he handled domestic violence accusations made against former Buckeyes receivers coach Zach Smith. An independent review determined Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith (no relation to Zach) did not take “sufficient management action” relating to the assistant coach’s misconduct.

Although it may not feel relevant, Meyer’s issues with the Jaguars also shouldn’t be glossed over. He continuously made poor off-field decisions, including hiring former Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle despite the latter’s history of alleged bullying and racist behavior, before Jacksonville owner Shad Khan had enough and fired the first-year head coach after 13 games.

Forget coaching young men on how to win games. Is Meyer really the type of person that a school would want to have work with its student-athletes on opportunities to profit off their likeness and expand their brand?

Meyer barely knows how to proudly represent himself in ways that don’t involve beating Michigan and earning a top-10 ranking in the final AP Top 25 poll. The idea of him potentially helping student-athletes on how they can represent themselves sounds like a terrible idea.

Meyer already has non-football paths lined up if he doesn’t return to broadcasting or coaching

As of publication, Meyer had not returned to Fox, nor had there been any credible rumors about him taking any type of broadcasting gig. Perhaps ESPN, which employed him throughout the 2011 season, could be in play later this year.

Perhaps most importantly, there have been zero credible reports of him taking any coaching positions. The USFL chose eight other coaches, including longtime Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, and the new-look XFL — which is slated to begin play in 2023 — hadn’t announced any of its head coaches as of publication.

If the 57-year-old Meyer doesn’t return to broadcasting this year, maybe he is better off spending his time away from football. He and his wife, Shelley, already run the Urban and Shelley Meyer Family Foundation. The similarly-named Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research is dedicated to recruiting leading cancer experts to Ohio State.

For now, Meyer also has his eyes set on helping student-athletes profit off their name, image, and likeness. It’s not routing Michigan and ending their hopes of a Big 10 title berth, but it’ll do, especially for the Ohio State players who deserve such an opportunity.

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