While former University of Florida coach Urban Meyer is still in line to become the next coach at Ohio State in the coming days, WKMG Sports Director David Pingalore has learned from sources close to the situation that a rift between Meyer and OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith could be delaying the hiring process.
According to sources, Meyer originally sought to have Smith removed from his position as AD as a prerequisite for him accepting OSU’s head coaching position.
Ohio State is also delaying the announcement of Meyer’s hiring while it awaits a pending Notice of Allegations coming from the NCAA regarding ``failure to monitor’’ claims. Ohio State is being investigated for its athletes allegedly trading memorabilia for tattoos and cash benefits while Jim Tressel was coach at OSU.
Smith has been the AD at Ohio State in 2005 and is considered one of the most powerful men in college athletics.
According to sources close to the situation, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee balked at Meyer’s demands that Smith be out as the AD.
The two will apparently will have to coexist once Meyer officially becomes the Buckeyes’ coach, which is likely to come this week even though no news conference has been scheduled at this point.
Pingalore broke the news last week that Meyer had agreed in principle to a seven-year, $40 million contract to coach the Buckeyes.
Meyer, who won two national titles during his six seasons at Florida, has also spent the past few weeks assembling his OSU coaching staff, attracting assistants from several schools.
LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will be Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Ohio State, according to sources. Studrawa has ties with Meyer from Bowling Green, where he served as Meyer’s offensive coordinator.
Pingalore’s sources confirmed that Stan Drayton will be retained by OSU, but will move from the wide receivers coach to running backs coach. He worked previously with Meyer at Bowling Green and Florida.
Also, on the move with Meyer, will be Zach Smith. Smith, who was a graduate assistant under Meyer at Florida, will leave Temple as the wide receivers coach and do the same job at Ohio State.
He is legendary forward Ohio State coach Earle Bruce’s grandson.
In Pingalore’s original report, sources confirmed that Mickey Marotti will become Ohio State’s director of football operations. Marotti is currently Florida’s strength coach. Sources on Tuesday also confirmed that D.J. Durkin will leave Florida as the linebacker coach and join Meyer as OSU’s defensive coordinator.
Luke Fickell, who has worked this season as Ohio State’s interim head coach, will be retained by Meyer and serve as OSU’s assistant head coach.
Sources confirmed that Fickell played a major role in recruiting Meyer to Ohio State.
Meyer, an analyst all season for ESPN, asked off the coveraqe of the Ohio State-Michigan game this past Saturday, a game won by the Wolverines to snap a seven-game losing streak to OSU.
Meyer released a statement late last week denying that any official agreement has been reached with Ohio State.