Note to everyone hoping to watch an Ohio State Buckeyes football practice: Don't wear blue.
According to Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio, two NFL scouts chose to attend a recent Ohio State practice wearing blue. Rather than go about their day in their chosen attire, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer forced the scouts to change their outfits. The school provided Ohio State shirts for them to wear while they watched practice.
Jackson reports that this is a new policy Meyer has instated, likely because the Buckeyes' biggest rival, the Michigan Wolverines, has blue as a school color.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, the scouts weren't understanding. They were "embarrassed," per Jackson:
One scout for an NFC team who was there but not directly involved acknowledged that the incident was "embarrassing," but didn't want to say anything further.
Said another longtime scout who's been to Ohio State this month but not the day of the incident: "It's just not something that needed to happen. It could have been handled much better, and if that (blue-shirt) rule is going to be enforced, they could let us know."
It's certainly inconvenient.
Jackson goes on to say Ohio State players were "yelling" to the scouts that blue was not welcome. This isn't the greatest way to improve public image, but it is a testament to the mentality developed by a team that went undefeated in 2012.
Any sign of the enemy seems to signal war.
Did Urban Meyer go too far by making scouts change their blue shirts?
We can't fault Meyer for buying into the team spirit, nor can we display a lack of understanding for a coach who's committed to one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports. With that being said, scouts are there to grant opportunities to Meyer's players, and getting on their bad side is a terrible idea.
Once the dust has settled and the anger has subsided, however, few scouts will frown upon team pride.
This isn't the first time we've heard of this policy. Austin Murphy of Sports Illustrated reported in April of 2012 that Meyer took similar action against a reporter in a dark blue button-down. When the reporter smiled at his request, Meyer quipped, "He thinks I'm kidding."
NFL scouts now know he isn't.
Murphy goes on to state that Meyer lives by the same code as legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, refusing to utter Michigan's name. Instead, he refers to the Wolverines as "that school up north," when asked about the annual foe.
That approach worked out quite well for Hayes, as he won five national championships and 13 Big Ten titles at Ohio State.
With Meyer owning two national titles of his own, it's safe to say that when it comes to motivating his players, he knows what he's doing. Unfortunately, motivation seems to have resulted in irritation when it comes to the scouts.
If you want to wear blue to an Ohio State practice in the future, don't say Meyer didn't warn you.