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Still, most coaches in the conference have acknowledged an unwritten gentleman’s agreement to not swoop in and grab players who have pledged to another Big Ten school. Former Purdue coach Joe Tiller blasted former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez for doing just that four years ago.

Asked Wednesday if he had “flipped” a lot of recruits this year who had committed elsewhere, Meyer said, “Sometimes they say, ‘How can you go recruit a young guy committed to another school?’ You ask a question, ‘Are you interested?’ If they say no, you move on.

“If they say, ‘Yes, very interested,’ then you throw that hook out there. If they’re interested, absolutely, especially from your home state.”

Ohio State is banned from going to a bowl game after the 2012 season as part of NCAA sanctions accrued under Tressel. The Buckeyes are also facing recruiting limitations (three fewer scholarships each of the next three years) among other penalties, including vacating the 2010 season and serving three years of NCAA probation.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also jumped to the defense of Meyer on Friday.

“I am disappointed that negative references have been made about our football coaches, and particularly head coach Urban Meyer regarding recruiting,” Smith said in a statement.

Smith said that Bielema and Dantonio should have voiced their concerns about Meyer to their athletic directors, who would then have discussed the matter. He also said that Meyer and his staff have had a “compliance conscience” in their brief time on the job.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap