Urban Meyer off Florida's payroll
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Former Florida coach Urban Meyer has severed financial ties with the Gators to avoid NCAA recruiting violations.
Meyer had remained on Florida's payroll since resigning in December. He signed a deal with ESPN earlier this week to become a college football analyst, and his job discussing potential recruits during a national signing day telecast Wednesday would have been an NCAA violation.
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.” -- Former Florida coach Urban Meyer
So Meyer chose ESPN over his undefined role at Florida.
"The University of Florida has been a big part of my personal and professional life for the past six years, 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," Meyer said in a statement.
Meyer will call one game a week for ESPN during the regular season and also serve as a studio analyst.
When he resigned Dec. 8, the 46-year-old Meyer said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He insisted his new job wouldn't get in the way of that, with minimal commitment during the offseason and travel only over the weekend during the season.
Meyer, who was 104-23 in 10 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, said Monday he would maintain an affiliation with the Gators and help athletic director Jeremy Foley with fundraising for the university. Now, though, Meyer won't work in any capacity with the school or the football program.
"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 in a statement. "He will provide great insight and background for ESPN's audiences.
"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. 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."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press