Ohio State is now obligated to recruit Curtis Samuel, but Samuel is not obligated to OSU.
Samuel, listed as an “athlete” for recruiting purposes, is committed to the Buckeyes’ 2014 class and plans to enroll in January because he is on track to graduate early from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.
That’s the reason he was eligible to take advantage of a recent NCAA rule interpretation that allows such prospects to sign a financial-aid agreement, which guarantees their scholarship offer even if the athlete is injured in the meantime. The twist is, while the rule protects the athlete, the financial-aid agreement does not bind him to the college, meaning he could still change schools.
“That’s a bizarre rule that came out of right field, and that means that a midyear guy, you’re allowed to go meet with him. You’re allowed to announce it publicly,” coach Urban Meyer said.
Normally, a school must wait until a player enrolls or sends in a national letter of intent once the signing period opens in February. Even so, Meyer refrained from speaking about Samuel until he becomes more familiar with the rule.
“I don’t remember voting on this. I don’t remember any conversation” about a need for such a loophole, Meyer said. “I’m not sure about the rationale.”
But he’s for it. Even though it doesn’t preclude other schools from continuing to recruit Samuel, Ohio State now is afforded unlimited contact with him.
“There’s a huge benefit,” Meyer said. “You’re allowed to text them, allowed to talk to them. I saw the list (of permissible actions). I argued with our compliance guy. I said there’s no way you’re allowed to do that, but we are.”
Craft said what?
Senior guard Aaron Craft of the Buckeyes basketball team found himself having to defend comments made to a Cleveland radio station that suggested he thought Florida State was the best team in college football.
Craft spoke with WKRK-FM (92.3) on a show with Dustin Fox, a former Buckeyes football player. During the interview, Anthony Lima of the station tweeted, “Uh oh, Aaron Craft just (said) Florida State is the best team in the country in college football.”
Asked about it at basketball practice, Craft said, “What I said was, I like what I’ve seen from Florida State to this point. However, with the way our team has played the past few weeks, and having a week off, it’s very, very tough. You can’t not talk about Ohio State in that category.”
What does Craft really think of the football team?
“I would love to see us play Alabama or Florida State in the national championship game,” he said.
Offensive tackle Taylor Decker suffered a sprained left knee during on Nov. 2 against Purdue, but Meyer said he expects that Decker will be able to play on Saturday at Illinois. Also expected to be available are linebackers Curtis Grant (sprained ankle, strained back) and Joshua Perry (surgery on dislocated finger).
Dispatch Reporter Bob Baptist contributed to this report.