By Zac Ellis
Not long after New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with murder last month, Hernandez's college coach also found himself thrust into the spotlight. Urban Meyer has fielded criticism recently over the Gators' handling of Hernandez's legal troubles while Hernandez played tight end under Meyer at Florida.
The current Ohio State coach's family members have taken it upon themselves to defend Meyer's connection to Hernandez, however. Both Meyer's wife, Shelley, and his daughter, Gigi, took to Twitter this week to defend the coach. (H/T the Columbus Dispatch)
Since Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder and five other gun-related charges on June 26, the former Gator has been linked to a handful of other violent incidents, including some that occurred while he played at Florida. Court documents allege that Hernandez punched a restaurant worker in Gainesville while being escorted out of the eatery in April 2007. Shortly after he'd left Florida for the NFL, Hernandez was also one of three Gators questioned in connection to a double shooting following a Florida loss in 2007.
Meyer was also in the news this week after he was alleged to have turned in Florida for an NCAA secondary violation soon after taking the job at Ohio State. FoxSports.com first reported that Meyer had turned in Florida for improper contact with a recruit whom both the Gators and Buckeyes were recruiting. While Meyer denied any direct involvement in reporting Florida's actions, a source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that Meyer "was aware of it and he endorsed it." Meyer coached at Florida from 2005-2010 but stepped down for health reasons in 2010. After serving as a broadcaster for the 2011 season, Meyer accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State prior to the 2012 season.