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Wisconsin’s Bielema Questions Urban Meyer’s Recruiting

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Urban Meyer. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Urban Meyer. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

(CBS) Urban Meyer has Bret Bielema’s attention.

The Wisconsin head coach was asked Wednesday if he thought Meyer would change recruiting in the Big Ten and Bielema offered up a lot more than a simple answer.

“I hope it doesn’t change. I think the potential for change is there,” Bielema said. “There are 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.”

Obviously avoiding specifics, Bielema clearly isn’t 100 percent happy with Meyer’s tactics at Ohio State, where he put together a top five recruiting class in just a couple of months.

If there is a specific recruit in question it is offensive lineman Kyle Dodson who was committed to Wisconsin before Meyer was hired at Ohio State. Rumors of Dodson, an Ohio native, switching to the Buckeyes started almost immediately upon Meyer’s arrival in Columbus.

Usually not one to talk about recruits that got away, Bielema opened up about the Dodson situation.

“One of things that happened when Kyle came aboard, I basically said to our staff at the time, ‘Ohio State is going to have transition and we have to be prepared for when that happens and we can be strong’ and we were to the end,” Bielema said. “When Kyle reached out to us this afternoon he talked about staying close to home. He’s a kid who lives with his grandmother and grandmother only. You can’t fault a kid for that.”

This isn’t the first time Bielema has publicly objected to another program’s recruiting techniques. Last year, without naming names, Bielema voiced displeasure about the way another school was recruiting. At the time, the Wisconsin head coach was in a heated battle for quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who later committed to Florida, a school that hadn’t really been in the picture until Charlie Weis joined the Gators staff as offensive coordinator.

In the midst of answering the question about Meyer Wednesday, Bielema went off on a tangent about a job offer he received in a different conference when he was an assistant at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez. He didn’t name the school or the head coach that was trying to hire him, but he said while that coach was trying to recruit him, he told Bielema: “You know what the difference between the Big Ten and this conference is? In the Big Ten everybody tells on everybody, in our conference nobody tells on anybody.”

Bielema didn’t take the job.

“That (was) a huge comment to me,” he said about the unnamed coach. “I’ve been very cognizant of that. I encourage our coaches to play by the books, to do things in a certain way. If you have to lie, cheat and steal to get someone here, it doesn’t make a great point once you get them here about how you need to handle them.

“Our league is based on certain values that we’re going to hold to be true and if you don’t hold those to be true, you are going to be held accountable.”

Consider that a message sent in the direction of Columbus, Ohio.

The question now is, does Bret Bielema have Urban Meyer’s attention?

For more college football coverage throughout the year, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).

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