Urban Meyer won't suspend players
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If two key Ohio State players are going to miss any additional playing time following ejections for fighting, that punishment will have to come from the Big Ten office.
Urban Meyer will have conversations with both athletic director Gene Smith and league officials on Sunday, but the Buckeyes coach twice indicated that the amount of action starting right guard Marcus Hall and versatile offensive weapon Dontre Wilson missed after getting penalized in the second quarter on Saturday at Michigan should fulfill the on-field punishments.
And while he indicated no final decision had been made, Meyer certainly seemed to anticipate having both players available for a huge showdown this week in the Big Ten championship when the No. 3 Buckeyes take on No. 11 Michigan State.
"I've dealt internally with the players, obviously Marcus Hall, Dontre Wilson and also there was another person who came off the bench that we had a discipline conversation already," Meyer said during a teleconference Sunday. "Certainly I am going to handle the discipline of this situation.
"I have not heard from the Big Ten. We're supposed to discuss it tonight, and also [athletic director] Gene Smith and I will discuss it shortly. I'm disappointed. There's no place for fighting in football, and I think the Big Ten did an excellent job getting people out of there on both sides."
The Wolverines also had a player disqualified for throwing a punch, with reserve linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone tossed for his role in the dustup. But they don't have another game on tap this week, and Hall and Wilson both play important roles for an offense preparing to take on one of the best defensive units in the country.
Hall also drew attention after the fight, throwing his helmet, kicking a bench and making a pair of obscene gestures to the crowd at Michigan Stadium as he left the field, which prompted an apology he posted on Twitter on Sunday.
"I would like to apologize to The Ohio State University, The University of Michigan, my teammates, my family, the fans and the TV viewing audience for my behavior during yesterday's game," Hall said. "Wearing the scarlet and gray and uniform is a [privilege] and an honor. I let my emotions get the best of me and didn't conduct myself properly in the heat of the moment. My actions do not reflect who I am as a person and teammate.
"I love The Ohio State university and appreciate everything it has done for me. From the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry and hope everyone can accept my sincere apology."
Those actions also don't appear like they will cost Hall a chance to play in Ohio State's first Big Ten title game, at least from Meyer's perspective.
But the conference could still impose a punishment of its own, with Big Ten spokesman writing to The Associated Press on Saturday that the league office would wait for the "officials' written report, review the video and then take further action if needed."
No timetable for a verdict has been publicly revealed, aside from the conversation Meyer said was planned for Sunday evening.
"I've already met with the players involved, and the rule is very clear that if you get in a fight, you lose a game," Meyer said. "They lost a game, they didn't play from that point forward, they were ejected from the game. It's a tough penalty in a rivalry game, but it's one that I agree with."
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