Earlier this week, ESPN pulled Urban Meyer from the broadcast crew working Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game in Ann Arbor, MI, an unsurprising development given the rumors that Meyer may already have an agreement in place with Ohio State to take over as head coach following the game.
"We felt the studio in Bristol was the best place for him given the many storylines and top matchups going on in college football this weekend," ESPN publicist Mike Humes tweeted on Monday. "He can offer commentary about the season, contribute to GameDay from ESPN studios and also help preview and review the significant games on the schedule."
Plans have changed yet again, as Meyer is no longer scheduled to appear on ESPN at all this weekend, on-location or in the studio. "Urban Meyer won't be appearing on ESPN this weekend," Humes tweeted Friday. "He requested off his studio assignment and we obliged."
From the outside, it's natural to try connecting the dots between Meyer's absence and the Ohio State rumors, but that may not be accurate. As Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors points out on Twitter, Meyer's father passed away earlier this month, which was why he was not part of the broadcast crew that called Penn State-Nebraska on Nov. 12.
Meyer has since returned to work, but the family held a memorial service this week. Given that his focus has likely been on his family this week, he may have simply decided against returning to work so soon. Unless ESPN or Meyer releases a statement explaining his absence, it's impossible to know for sure.