Why is Urban Meyer teaching a course about character at the OSU business school?

Nearly 200 Ohio State University undergraduates are gaining leadership insights from one of the greatest coaches in college football history. From January through May, former OSU coach Urban Meyer will co-teach a three-credit class at the OSU Fisher College of Business.

In football-crazy Columbus, it’s not surprising the college tapped Meyer for the role. And even though he’s no academic or captain of industry, he certainly has displayed impressive organizational and leadership skills on his way to three national titles, one of the best winning percentages in NCAA football history and a perfect record against the University of Michigan.

But his new teaching gig also comes after a difficult off-the-field final season for Meyer, who was suspended for three games for mishandling domestic violence allegations against a former assistant coach. As a result, Meyer, a man whose judgment and ethical compass have been questioned in recent months, is now teaching a class about “leadership and character” to Ohio State students.

Tim Judge, the executive director of the Fisher Leadership Initiative, says Meyer has acknowledged his shortcomings. “If you look at the interviews that he’s given when he’s talked about this, he’s uncommonly humble and open about it,” Judge says.

Judge also says Meyer can use his own difficulties as a teachable moment for his students. “Part of character is I think admitting mistakes and trying to learn from them and be better,” Judge says. “And I’d be surprised if that’s not the message [Meyer] has for his students. I think he’ll be very open with that.”