Jeff Pearlman

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Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.43.10 PM

“Braxton is throwing the ball good …”

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.43.10 PMJust stepped off the treadmill after watching the first half of Clemson-Ohio State. Was removing my headphones when the sideline reporter asked Urban Meyer about his team’s play and, specifically, quarterback Braxton Miller.

“Well,” he said, “Braxton’s throwing the ball good …”

That’s all I needed to hear.

Braxton’s throwing the ball good? Braxton’s throwing the ball good? As I write this, my 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son are both asleep. Were I to wake them and ask, “Was Braxton throwing the ball good or well?” both would answer correctly. So would, I’m guessing most of their classmates and their friends. Yet there, on national television, the highest-paid employee of The Ohio State University was failing English: 101—a high school course not even offered on campus.

Why am I mocking Urban Meyer? Honestly, because I think he symbolizes much of what’s awful about big-time college sports. He’s a cliched dolt, paid millions to swoop down into inner-city high schools and promise 17-year-old boys that he’ll look after their best interests and mold them into men. Then he makes them dedicate their lives and beings to football—with academics a distant 100th on the priority meter. If it works out—wonderful! NFL futures await. If not, well, eh, hey. McDonald’s is always hiring.

Do Urban Meyer’s English skills matter? Not really. Actually, not at all. But he is—make no doubt—the spokesman of THE Ohio State.

Too bad he can’t really speak so good. Eh, well.

  • I know you catch a lot of grief for some of your viewpoints Jeff, but keep at it. Almost everything I loved about sports as a kid is just gone.

  • I think Urb was fibbing too. Braxton was NOT throwing the ball well in the first half. Overall sloppy game but thrilled the i wasn’t dotted.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life