Meyer: Student-athletes have gotten the short end of the stick for many years


Urban Meyer is pretty outspoken when it comes to his players and for that matter all student-athletes.

He said universities need to do more for their kids to prepare them for life after sports. He remembers all too well volleyball recruiting trips with his daughter Nicki.

“I would always sit and listen to them (recruiters) and thought did I really sound like them when I was recruiting,” Meyer said. “They are talking about jersey number, locker room and as a parent, you don't care about any of that. You care about what will that school do for your kid."

Meyer said when looking for a school to attend parents and kids should expect more than just the standard answer.

“Typical answer is a degree, Meyer said, “and I can't disagree with it more," he said.

Meyer is very proud of what he has created at Ohio State in preparing his players for life after football. His players now meet and network with business leaders. Players are also expected to get internships and job shadow.

Meyer said it’s much more than X’s and O’s at Ohio State and he says that is what parents and athletes should expect.

“I think that student-athletes have gotten the short end of the stick for many years by universities and I am guilty of it myself for many years," he said. “A powerful university like OSU should do more than get you a degree. It should get you a career. "

As parents, we all have dreams for our kids. For some, it may be a scholarship to a big-time university, for others, perhaps a career in professional sports. Those dreams only become reality for a small and dedicated few.

Meyer said as parents we are probably a little too biased when it comes to our kid’s talents. He says the best way and probably the easiest way to get your kid evaluated is by sending them to camp. Ohio State holds camps in every sport there is.

“If you are a high school football player you come to like the Ohio State camp because there are all kinds of coaches at all levels and you ask politely can evaluate my son. What level player do you think he is? Take it as an honest evaluation and you start to contact people at that level."

Meyer said parents need to be careful though when it comes to camps and the cost is something he is not a fan of.

“I hate the fact that parents have to pay 100's of dollars to go," Meyer said. “These recruiting camps that they are selling that they can get kids scholarships. That is not true! You have to be very careful what camps you send them to. The best camps are obviously the ones on campus."

More and more kids are being forced in high school to focus on one sport. Meyer strongly disagrees with that idea.

“I think kids should play basketball, run track, play baseball, wrestle. We try to do the best we can to encourage that,” Meyer said. “I think it is a little different in female sports. I was so upset when Nicki was not allowed to play basketball. I should not say not allowed, but high school basketball got in the way of travel volleyball and I got into an argument with Shelley and I said ‘she is a really good basketball player.’ Shelley said ‘you don't understand’ and I said ‘I been recruiting my whole life what the hell do you mean I don't understand?’ Obviously, she is always right as all wives are. You have to be part of travel volleyball if you want to get recruited."

Meyer admits he is an advocate for student athletes. He said parents need to be willing to ask universities the hard questions and in particular, what are you going to do for my son or daughter to prepare them for life after sports.