"Hey, it's a turtle, what's going on!"
So did a turtle bite Woody Hayes in the man-gavel? Short answer: No. Long answer: No, you morons.
When dealing with guns, always assume they're loaded—even when you know they're not. When dealing with microphones, always assume they're hot—even when you know they're not. And if you're a public figure, when dealing with funny, apocryphal stories, always assume someone will take that story seriously—even when you know nobody possibly could.
Lo and behold, Urban Meyer tried to get some chuckles by telling a joke—as in a story with a ridiculous premise and a clear punchline as the payoff—and an old joke at that, one he's told numerous times before. The punchline was ignored and the joke was reported as fact, and here we are. Here's the joke in question, via Big Lead Sports:
“He reaches down and grabs this box, slides the top and there was something in the box moving around. He reaches in and he pulls out this turtle. He reaches down, this turtle’s snapping and he says, ‘I’m going to show you toughness.’ He unzips his pants and takes out whatever he takes out. The turtle reaches up and snaps at him. You see the veins and the sweat (on Hayes). He screams at the coaches, ‘That’s toughness! That’s f’n toughness!’ He reaches down, pokes the turtle right in the eye and it falls off. He wipes the sweat off his forehead and says, ‘That’s the problem. We don’t have anybody in this room tough enough to do that right there.
“(One assistant) raises his hand and says, ‘Coach, I’d do this. Just promise not to poke me in the eye.’”
That's called a joke, and a rather well-crafted one at that.
We pity whatever Ohio State staffer was tasked with emailing reporters to remind them of the joke status, but lo and behold, such an email had to go out on Tuesday, and again via BLS, here's what Ohio State said:
This note is in response to the headlines that are running on the internet that don’t seem to take into consideration that Coach Meyer told a JOKE to a crowd of high school coaches last week. He was telling a story about toughness and he exaggerated a story about toughness. It is the same story he has told numerous times before, including last year at this same convention; only the coach he talked about last year wasn’t Coach Hayes, but Coach Bruce.
So please know: the story about toughness that Coach Meyer shared with a crowd last week and the year before and numerous times before was a joke and only a joke.
And our official reaction to the fact that Ohio State actually had to tell people not to take that story seriously is as follows:
There. That's it. End of story.