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Bielema Not Happy With Meyer's Recruiting Tactics

MADISON, Wis. -- It's something that Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has said before: coaches lose more friendships in recruiting than they do on the field.

So it's probably fair to say that Bielema's relationship with new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is frosty at best.

During his signing day press conference, Bielema was asked about how Meyer will affect recruiting in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes pulled in one of the top signing classes this season, ranking first in the Big Ten and sixth overall by ESPN. Bielema mentioned that he had a discussion with Meyer about some of his recruiting tactics sometime after he joined the conference in November.

"I hope (recruiting) doesn't change, I think the potential to change has been there," Bielema said Wednesday. "There was a few things that happened early on, that I made people aware of that I didn't want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues. Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal.

"I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified."

And now Matt Hayes at The Sporting News is reporting that Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez will speak with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer's recruiting style.

The Sporting News article has new comments from Bielema about his spat with Meyer, without going into detail about what practices Bielema was concerned about.

"I called Urban and we spoke about it," Bielema told Hayes on Thursday. "We talked about it, and he said it would stop and it did. I'll let our commissioner deal with anything else. That's not who we are (in the Big Ten). We settle things among ourselves as coaches."

Discussion quickly centered on the recruitment of Ohio State signee Kyle Dodson, an offensive lineman from Cleveland who was verbally committed to the Badgers for several months. Dodson re-opened his recruitment after Meyer took over for Luke Fickell at Ohio State, and eventually signed with the Buckeyes on Wednesday. Meyer also received commitments from seven other players who were committed to other schools before he came to Columbus.

It's believed that the Big Ten has a "gentleman's agreement" established, where coaches don't continue to recruit players after they have given a verbal commitment to another Big Ten school. And while that's all well and good for coaches who wish to follow it, there is no NCAA rule that would prevent Meyer from recruiting previously committed players.

We don't know how the Big Ten will respond to Bielema's concerns, or if he has more issues to bring up than the breaking of a "gentleman's agreement," but it's safe to say Nov. 17 just got a lot more interesting. That's the day the Buckeyes will roll in to Camp Randall again for the first time since 2010, and this time Meyer will be on the far sideline.