ESPN published a report on the rise and fall of the Florida Gators under Urban Meyer. The story is familiar. Meyer won, then lost Tebow and multiple coaches. His health began failing. Things went awry. He left. Florida fell off a cliff.
The story affirms reporting by the Sporting News that Meyer had different standards for certain players. “Ballers” were treated with care.
Life was good for “Ballers” in Meyer’s program.
Ballers produced on Saturdays and were committed to the program. Ballers got first dibs at team meals, front seats on chartered planes and were often excused from practice. Meyer took care of players he trusted.
"“I think it was starting to become [playing favorites],” Trautwein said. “If you asked him now, he’s probably not doing that at Ohio State.” "
Meyer letting players “run amok” was blamed for Florida’s downfall.
"“[Meyer] allowed players to do what they wanted, which is why the program is still getting fixed,” Young said. “He allowed players to run amok.”"
It’s clear Meyer had a breakdown and, through a confluence of factors, what he built at Florida unraveled. Though, it’s a bit facile to lump everything that happened on his player treatment in retrospect.
It’s John Wooden who wrote “Coach Wooden didn’t treat everyone the same; he treated people they way they deserved to be treated.” It’s also John Wooden who allegedly turned a blind eye when Bill Walton smoked pot while winning three-straight National Player of the Year awards.
Stars in any walk of life get treated differently. Treatment only gets brought up when they don’t produce desired results.