Wednesday February 2, 2011Meyer Gives Up Role At UF To Eliminate Any Potential Conflicts Of Interest
Former Gator head coach Urban Meyer is always welcome back at The Swamp, but two days after accepting a position as a college football analyst with ESPN, Meyer is giving up his role at the University of Florida.
Due to potential conflicts of interest, Meyer has decided to renounce his position in the school’s athletic department.
“The University of Florida has been a big part of my personal and professional life for the past six years,’’ Meyer said Wednesday. “And while I will no longer be able to continue a professional relationship with the University, I will continue to support the many friends I made during my time there."
During Monday’s media teleconference with Meyer and ESPN Executive Vice President of Production Norby Williamson, questions were raised about how the network would handle Meyer’s role in splitting his time working at UF in some capacity and remaining an objective analyst in regard to the Gators.
Williamson downplayed those concerns and said Meyer’s role with the network would not prevent him from providing commentary or analysis on Florida football.
However, with Meyer cutting any financial ties with UF, those concerns are no longer an issue.
Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley is thankful Meyer can remain in college athletics in his new role at ESPN.
“We are happy for Coach Meyer that he is getting a chance to stay involved with college football – he has so much passion for the game and the players,’’ Foley said. “He will provide great insight and background for ESPN’s audiences.”
Former Florida and NFL player Trace Armstrong, who is now Meyer’s agent, told the Orlando Sentinel that the move clears up any confusion over Meyer’s connection to the Gators.
“Jeremy did it as a favor; he wanted Urban to understand that he was still a part of the program," Armstrong said. “Nobody anticipated this would a problem with the NCAA. Usually, when a former coach is on ESPN, he has been fired and has broken ties with the school. This was a unique situation.
"In the end, we just thought this was the best resolution and the cleanest way to do it. This way, it removes any questions."
In six seasons at Florida, Meyer finished 65-15 and won two national titles. He makes his debut as an official ESPN analyst today on ESPNU during the network’s 10 hours of coverage of National Signing Day.
Meyer is expected to continue living in Gainesville.
“We were pleased to provide Coach Meyer with an opportunity within our athletic department, but the chance to work for ESPN was a perfect fit for him and his family,’’ Foley said. “He will always be welcome here and we are forever indebted for what he accomplished and how he represented the University of Florida.
“He gave every ounce of energy to this program for six years and we certainly share a special bond with him. We will always remain close friends and I look forward to seeing him enjoy the next chapter in his life. Coach Meyer will always be a Gator.”