Ohio State’s Ur­banMeyer is teach­ing lead­er­ship and char­ac­ter? Se­ri­ously?

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - SPORTS - Phil Rosen­thal philrosen­[email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter @phil_rosen­thal

Ur­banMeyer, whose lat­est re­tire­ment from­coach­ing football be­gins af­ter Ohio State meet­sWash­ing­ton in the Rose Bowl, plans to re­main a big man on cam­pus af­ter all.

Turns out he’s go­ing to coteach a busi­ness course this spring ti­tled Lead­er­ship and Char­ac­ter.

What’s that look on your face? Just be­cause it seemed likeMeyer, at last check, still had a few things to learn on this sub­ject?

Ohio State’s Fisher Col­lege of Busi­ness ap­par­ently be­lieves the world needs moreMBAs think­ing and act­ing like football coaches in gen­eral andMeyer specif­i­cally. It ex­plained in a state­ment Thurs­day: “Ur­ban Meyer brings ex­ten­sive lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence and a unique per­spec­tive to stu­dents seek­ing to en­gage with top lead­ers.”

“Unique per­spec­tive” is a great­way to put it, so long as “unique” is em­pha­sized over “per­spec­tive.”

Surely no one for­gotMeyer’s exit as Buck­eyes coach­was spurred by more than the strain of health is­sues ag­gra­vated by stress. There al­sowas the in­escapable shad­ow­cast by how, as a leader, he re­vealed his char­ac­ter through his han­dling of al­le­ga­tions of do­mes­tic abuse and other re­ported trans­gres­sions by as­sis­tant coach Zach Smith, grand­son of for­mer Buck­eyes coach­ing le­gend Earle Bruce.

Ob­fus­ca­tions, poor judg­ment, mis­placed al­le­giances and other lapses in deal­ing­with the Smith sit­u­a­tion earnedMeyer a three­game sus­pen­sion at the start of this sea­son. Many re­garded that sanc­tion as merely a tap on the wrist byOhio State trustees. Af­ter all, the in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted at the be­hest of trustees de­ter­minedMeyer’s han­dling of the Smith case “did not ex­hibit the kind of lead­er­ship and high stan­dards thatwe ex­pect … on the football staff.”

So it’s not what’s ex­pected fromthe football staff, but it’s ap­par­ently the kind of lead­er­ship and high stan­dards with which the busi­ness school is to­tally cool?

Fan­tas­tic.

Then again, per­hap­swe shouldn’t be so quick to judge. While the Fisher School says the course, to be taught with re­tired Air Force Lt. Col. Charles “Chas” Buchanan, “will lever­age Coach Meyer’s pro­fes­sional in­sights, chal­lenges and suc­cesses,” maybe there will be oc­ca­sion for re­flec­tion on whatMeyer did wrong. It can’t all be about the suc­cesses (i.e. two na­tional cham­pi­onships at Florida, tak­ing the Ohio State job, beat­ing Michi­gan, win­ning an­other na­tional cham­pi­onship, beat­ing Michi­gan some more)? Can it?

One imag­ines a pop quiz might look some­thing like this:

1. Whenat least 25work­ers un­der you are ar­rested or charged dur­ing your six years in a pre­vi­ous job, this is an ex­am­ple of:

A. Char­ac­ter.

B. Lead­er­ship.

C. Who­cares? The Florida Ga­tor­swon two na­tional ti­tles in their six sea­sons un­der­Meyer.

2. Lead­er­ship com­mands re­spect rather than de­mand­ing it. Char­ac­ter is ev­i­dent when you:

A. In­still val­ues in your or­ga­ni­za­tion by demon­strat­ing them ev­ery day.

B. Al­ways do what’s best for the or­ga­ni­za­tion, even at a per­sonal cost.

C. BeatMichi­gan.

3. Whena mem­ber of your staff be­haves er­rat­i­cally and po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing him for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, the cor­rect re­sponse is to:

A. Take your own boss’ ad­vice and re­move the un­der­ling from your staff.

B. Con­vince the un­der­ling to re­sign for his own sake and that of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

C. Con­tinue award­ing the un­der­ling ex­cel­lent per­for­mance re­views and big raises.

4. Abold and dy­namic leader al­ways:

A. Solic­its in­put fro­moth­ers and builds con­sen­sus.

B. In­spires and con­vinces oth­ers to fol­lowhis strat­egy de­spite con­cerns they voice.

C. Goes for it on fourth-and­inches.

5. Whenasked what you knowabout an un­der­ling’s mis­deeds and when you first learned of them, you should: A. Al­ways tell the truth.

B. Al­ways be trans­par­ent.

C. Give a mis­lead­ing an­swer and later say youwere con­fused by the ques­tion and/or un­pre­pared to an­swer it.

6. The epit­ome of a leader with char­ac­ter­would be:

A. Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln.

B. Ten­nessee basketball coach Pat Sum­mitt.

C. Who­ever is grad­ing this quiz.

MICHAEL CONROY/AP

Ur­ban Meyer, step­ping down as Ohio State coach, will co-teach a busi­ness course this spring ti­tled Lead­er­ship and Char­ac­ter.

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