SBD/February 1, 2011/Media

Urban Meyer Formally Joins ESPN As College Football Game, Studio Analyst

Meyer will call weekly game, appear on "College GameDay"
ESPN yesterday announced that former Univ. of Florida football coach Urban Meyer "will be a college football game and studio analyst for the network," according to Robbie Andreu of the GAINESVILLE SUN. Meyer "will work a weekly regular-season game and select bowl games," and he also will "provide studio analysis throughout the year on ESPN's daily College Football Live program, NFL Draft, spring games and bowl games, including during the network's on-site BCS coverage." Meyer also will "contribute to ESPN's Saturday morning College GameDay show, making a weekly appearance from his game site." Meyer will debut in the job tomorrow for ESPNU's coverage of National Signing Day. The net "would not reveal any details about Meyer's contract." Meyer said that in his analyst role, he "will not criticize coaches or players, but that he will offer strong opinions (even on Florida) when they are warranted." Meyer: "It's not my job to be critical. My job is to analyze college football." He added that there will be "no conflict between his broadcasting career and the work (still to be determined) he will be doing in the UF athletic department, where he still has an office." Meanwhile, Meyer said that the job "allows him to stay involved in football without having to sacrifice significant time with his family." Meyer: "In the offseason, it's going to be minimal. During the season, it will be weekends, Friday and Saturday" (GAINESVILLE SUN, 2/1). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser notes Meyer "can continue living in Gainesville while working for ESPN" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/1).

NICE ADDITION: YAHOO SPORTS' Matt Hinton wrote if Meyer's "postseason auditions during the Las Vegas Bowl and BCS Championship Game are any indication," he will "do just fine on camera, and may even be the one person on the network not named 'Ron Jaworski' allowed to talk X's and O's in a way that doesn't amount to an especially fancy highlight package." Still, Meyer is an "oddity in the Land of Talking Heads, where former coaches are almost universally fired or retired in the conventional sense -- that is, well past their prime" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/31).

A DIFFERENT SET OF RULES: FANHOUSE.com's Milton Kent noted Meyer "doesn't want to criticize anyone" in the role. He also "doesn't want to formally cut his ties to Florida," as he "apparently wants to continue assisting the school in raising funds, even while he may be called on to comment on the team and school's doings." Kent: "The terms that were laid out would hardly pass the smell test in any journalism ethics course. ... And doggone it if it's all OK with ESPN." Allowing a coach who "just stepped off the sidelines to maintain any ties with a school, much less the school he just left, raises serious questions about his objectivity and impugns the integrity of the outlet for whom he works" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/31).
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