Consider this Urban Meyer's "Welcome to the Big Ten" moment.
Wisconsin Badgers coach Bret Bielema hinted that Meyer was using "illegal" recruiting practices during his National Signing Day press conference on Wednesday. The specific practice in question would be Meyer’s recruitment of players who already had given verbal commitments to other Big Ten schools, which is said to be considered a no-no under a "gentleman's agreement" between Big Ten schools.
That's just not how things were done when Urban was in the SEC, where he won two National Titles. When pressed on the accusation, he called the criticism "nonsense" and didn't see the harm in calling and asking a recruit about his pledge.
And so, the Big Ten now finds itself with a bit of a paradox. Keep the status quo or evolve to compete. A Big Ten school hasn't won the National Title since 2002 and has only one other title from the past twenty years. That's technically the same amount of titles the Big East has (Miami).
Breaking this agreement doesn't change anything in-and-of itself, but the harm that Bielema seems to think it will cause is hardly worth his concern. At the end of the day, you're all competing, aren't you?
Bielema added, "I can tell you this. We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC—in any way, shape or form."
Meyer's current school went 0-2 against SEC opponents when playing in the BCS National Championship, a game that the SEC has won six years in a row. So...I can think of at least one way Bielema might want the Big Ten to be like the SEC.
Gentleman's agreements, schentleman's agreements.