Day one of Big Ten media days

BY BEN ROSS | JULY 25, 2013 5:00 AM

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CHICAGO — The Big Ten media days are in full swing, which means a lot of things: Summer is coming to a close, people start prematurely making predictions for the upcoming football season, and coaches across the conference are really, really, excited.

Trouble in paradise

Even though Ohio State couldn’t compete in the Big Ten championship game last season, the Buckeyes are seen as the conference’s team to beat in 2013.

But head coach Urban Meyer’s squad is attempting to overcome adversity before the first snap of the season. Four players have gotten into legal trouble in the past week. Starting running back Carlos Hyde has been dismissed from the team following an alleged assault on a woman at a Columbus nightclub over the past weekend.

It was later learned that Hyde won’t be charged in the assault, which could open the door for an opportunity for Hyde to appear once again in the Scarlet and Grey.

Starting Buckeye cornerback Bradley Roby was arrested on battery charges on July 21 in Bloomington, Ind. Roby was scheduled to attend Big Ten media days but didn’t make the trip to Chicago, and he could face further disciplinary action, Meyer said.

The other two players facing discipline in the program are incoming freshmen. Offensive tackle Tim Gardner has been dismissed from the team following an obstruction-of-justice charge, and tight end Marcus Baugh will miss at least the season-opener for possession of a fake ID and underage consumption of alcohol.

“It drives you insane that you have to deal with that nonsense,” Meyer said. “But that’s part of the issue.

“When a mistake happens or something happened, you have to react and get it done. So I’m disappointed. I think furious might be the word that would best describe when I first got the phone call.”

‘It’s never too late to do the right thing’

The issue of compensating student-athletes is especially prevalent in college football — a multibillion-dollar industry each year. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who played basketball at North Carolina in the late-60s, said that while he was a student-athlete, they were given $15 a month to pay for laundry services.

“1970 was my last year in college. We had a $15 a month laundry check, so that’s 10 months, $150,” Delany said. “Put the CPI on that for the last 45 years and see what you come up with, and that is a little bit of pocket money that we can afford to do.”

The laundry money, and all other cash benefits were cut out of the NCAA in 1972. And 41 years later, the conversation has been reopened.

“At North Carolina, we played in full houses every night,” Delany said. “We played with pros, and every game was televised, and we didn’t get $15 a month. But now that we’re revisiting 45 years later, it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

‘We’re Excited’

There are a lot of useful words to describe the anticipation of the upcoming football season. The thought of football — mixed alongside tailgating with friends and barbecue — is usually enough to instill a feeling of butterflies in the stomach for even the most casual of college football fans.

But one word was used unanimously by the Big Ten football coaches to paint a picture of what’s going on in their heads in regards to the upcoming season.

“We’re excited about the season, the challenges that lay ahead,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said.
“Got a couple of younger players on our roster,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Excited to see how they perform in August, and some incoming players, too. We’re excited.”

“We’re excited about 2013 coming, and look forward to it,” Spartan coach Mark Dantonio said.

“I know as a program, we’re excited about the upcoming season,” Husker head man Bo Pelini said. “The kids have really worked hard.” “I don’t know if you guys or anyone is charting how many times a coach up here says ‘excited,’ ” Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald said. “But I think across the country, every coach is really in anticipation for two weeks from now, when we get together with our teams and really start to work hard on progressing and building off of what we accomplished in the spring.”

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