The arrest of Jack Mewhort and Jake Stoneburner for interference with official acts—the only charge the police bothered sticking on the two when they fled after being discovered urinating outside an area bar—was something of a laughing matter immediately after the fact, with even the program getting into the act by cleverly designating the two as being on the "Maize Team," according to a locker room sign.
Well, nobody's laughing now.
After the two players pled guilty to disorderly conduct as part of a plea deal, Urban Meyer kept the two on indefinite suspension—and then removed their scholarships for the summer session. Here's the statement Meyer released, per the Plain Dealer:
We are disappointed with the decisions made recently by two of our football players. Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort will each be removed from athletic scholarship beginning with the summer term, and they will continue to be suspended from team activities until stipulations are successfully met. They will have an opportunity to return to the team in good standing following the summer session.
For one, the lingering reputation of Urban Meyer as lax on player discipline, especially for his stars, should be dead and buried at this point. Mewhort was the de facto leader of the offensive line before his arrest, and Stoneburner was almost certainly the most important receiver in the entire passing game. The fact that both players are now removed from the team until they earn their way back is, well, remarkable.
At the same time, one must expect that Mewhort and Stoneburner will be back. Both are 10 months away from substantial NFL paychecks as long as they don't screw up, and although that would be the case even if they hadn't been arrested and convicted, the fact that their sense of privilege has now been shaken to the core matters.The safety net is gone, and they have no incentive to get back on the trapeze. That should be that.
All that said, the offense should suffer substantially for this. Mewhort's standing with the offensive line—and the starting 22—looked to be as unimpeachably good as any on the entire team. Similarly, as the offense evolves under Meyer and brand new offensive coordinator Tom Herman, Stoneburner's presence in practice would be crucial, and now he won't be there until August at the earliest. We will see the negative effects of this early.
In terms of Ohio State's reputation, be awfully careful about criticizing the program's discipline now. Meyer just yanked scholarships from two of his most important offensive players in arguably the most important offseason in over a decade. What has your coach done for discipline lately? Does it stand up to this? Are you sure?
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