Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said Thursday he's in favor of simple and severe penalties for anyone caught lying to the NCAA.
"If you intentionally lie about committing violations, your career is over," Meyer said during a call-in radio show on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. "You're not suspended for two games [or] some of the silly penalties you have -- you can't talk to a recruit for a week and a half or something like that. No. You're finished. That will clean up some things."
Meyer's call for a zero-tolerance policy on deception this week came when he was asked for his thoughts on an FBI investigation that shed some light on the back channels through which college basketball coaches and professional agents pay for players. He lamented the fact that it took the power of federal subpoenas and the threat of time behind bars to make some headway in exposing the inner workings of some of college sports' worst-kept secrets.
Meyer said he didn't fault NCAA employees for not being able to root out those who undermine their attempts at amateurism because they aren't given strong enough consequences to compel coaches and others in the system to tell the truth. The coach said that players who are found to have lied to NCAA investigators are no longer allowed to play, and coaches should be held to the same standard when it comes to major violations and willful deception.
"I'm not talking about mistakes made when you have a rulebook like this," Meyer said. "But if you intentionally pay a guy money or willfully have a second cellphone to make illegal phone calls, you're done. You can never coach again."
In the midst of a game week for the Buckeyes, Meyer said he has not had the time to delve into the details of the budding scandal, which includes arrests of four assistant basketball coaches and a half dozen others tangentially connected to the sport. He has, however, had a conversation with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith about what this might mean for the future of the NCAA. He is hopeful that it will serve as a catalyst for change.
"It has to," he said, adding that he was eager to watch what happens next.