Urban Meyer denies SbB report on Ohio State job

Urban Meyer. REUTERS/Doug Murray (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Not surprisingly, former University of Florida Gators football head coach and ESPN analyst Urban Meyer just denied a report from SPORTSbyBROOKS that he had accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State.

Rumors had been rampant that Meyer was in line to take the job, but Brooks reported that Meyer had indeed accepted even though it had not been formalized in a contract. Brooks reported that Meyer was in the process of putting together a staff and the Luke Fickell would stay on with the Buckeyes. He also reported that Meyer also aims to add Chris Spielman and Kirk Herbstreit to the staff among others. Spielman makes some sense as he once lobbied to coach at Ohio State, but the Herbstreit part seems to be far-fetched as Herbie has one of the best gigs in broadcasting.

On the air during the ESPN broadcast of the Michigan-Nebraska game, Meyer just said that he had not been offered the position and that he had not agreed to coach at Ohio State. He did not, however, issue a blanket statement that he was not going to coach at Ohio State next season, so he can easily hide behind the fact that he hasn’t signed a contract. But Brooks made that clear in his story, so this looks more like the standard denial that doesn’t mean a thing.

Luke Fickell is the interim coach at Ohio State, and it is generally understood that Ohio State was going to look for a big name at the end of the season. Fickell understood that, so any discussions between Ohio State and Meyer are more understandable and are not a slap in the face to Fickell given his interim status. Fickell has made some progress through the season, but it has been clear many times that he is in over his head. Staying at Ohio State under Meyer would make a ton of sense for him. He can continue to learn at his alma mater and someday be considered either for the Ohio State job or another big job.

This makes even more sense given Urban Meyer’s health issues. He left the Florida job twice, and you have to wonder if he’ll give up on Ohio State as well if problems resurface.

As for Spielman, he did not make any comment during the broadcast when Meyer issued his “denial.” This could be an intriguing opportunity if he decides to join Meyer’s staff, though it also sets him up as a rival to Luke Fickell. Can these guys work together if both of them are angling for the top job at Ohio State in the future?

That said, the main story is Meyer’s status. His statement today tells me that these rumors are real, and that the Buckeyes will soon have a new head coach.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Independent blogs like Sports by Brooks getting noticed nationally

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past year and a half, you’re well aware of how sports blogs have taken over the online world. Blogs have become the “new media,” as newspapers continue to die out. This revelation hasn’t been lost on more nationally known sports sites like NBC Sports, who gave major recognition to edgier blogs like SR friends SportsbyBrooks.com in a recent article.

Such is the difference between the staid old sports media and the edgier new sports media — the latter being led by non-affiliated blogs that sensationally sell sex, sports and celebrity. Those blogs are forcing many athletes, who would rather not appear in such a context, to watch their public behavior. And they are forcing old-media outlets to reconsider how they cover those athletes in a hipper way in order to reach a younger demographic.

“I was in the main media for many years, and got bored with it,” said Brooks Melchior, who founded Sports By Brooks in 2001 and calls his site the progenitor of the format. “I enjoyed the off-the-beaten path stuff, and the merging of sports and celebrity. Now you see what’s happened since then. It’s exploding.”

Melchior, 40, has a diverse journalistic background. He worked on the night editing desk at the Kansas City Star, was a hockey and baseball play-by-play broadcaster, co-hosted a radio show in Columbus, Ohio, and served as a radio station program director. He said that his history leads him to be a little more cautious than some of his contemporaries.

“If I was writing something libelous or defamatory, I would have been sued by now, and put out of business,” said Melchior, who has received cease-and-desist orders but said the pursuit has never gone further.

He doesn’t claim to serve as a substitute for mainstream outlets such as newspapers. Rather, Melchior calls his site a “clipping service. But instead of just clipping the article, we repackage it with a more provocative approach in most cases, and put it up there.” Once the story is on the site, it acts as a major distribution point to recirculate back into the mainstream media, since writers from around the country begrudgingly admit to reading such sites.

The concern that blogs aren’t “real journalism” has merit. But times have changed. Good or bad, people don’t want to read full articles anymore. They want their information concise and entertaining. Blogs like SbB are entertaining and although older generations hate the fact that newspapers are dying, there’s a large group of online readers who enjoy more spiffy (or slick or edgy) content.

Blogs aren’t for everyone. And with the way newspapers outlets have made their content available online, readers have the opportunity to stick with something they’re more comfortable with. But the fact of the matter is that whether they’re accepted or not, it appears that blogs are here to stay.

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