Former NCAA athletes shed light on embattled coach’s abusive treatment of players in undercover videos
Xavier Nixon, OL: “They had a guy’s quads explode in the weight room… during what we call the Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
William Green, DE: “There was these mat drills, where people would literally get choked out.”
Gideon Ajagbe, LB: “A lot of what played into my depression was they humiliated me… they said I was a pu**y… “
Meyer’s players experienced “arm dangling,” “quads exploding” on Florida Gator team Urban Meyer threw objects at players “it’s a f*cking full bottle of Gatorade, and he’s chucking it at people.”
(Ohio) Project Veritas has released undercover video of former University of Florida athletes discussing the history of physical and mental abuse they experienced at the discretion of Urban Meyer, the now-embattled head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The videos were filmed in separate meetings throughout late 2017 and 2018 across the country, and feature four players that played at various times during Urban Meyer’s tenure as head coach of the Florida Gators.
According to these players, Meyer would blatantly disregard player’s health and wellbeing. Xavier Nixon, who played at the University of Florida for coach Meyer, recalled an incident where Omarius Hines, a teammate at the time, was severely injured during a weight training session Meyer oversaw called “The Valentine’s Day Massacre.”
“They had a guy’s quads explode in the weight room on the leg press during what we call the Valentine’s Day Massacre. You basically do everything until failure and the lactic acid had built up in his legs so much that his quads literally exploded, they erupted, and he had to be taken out in an ambulance.“
Another player who witnessed the injury, Josh Evans who played safety for the University of Florida between 2009 and 2012, corroborated the event:
“We had a guy on a leg press machine… Guy had probably about six plates on each side of the leg press. So [the coach] blew the whistle as he goin’, and the whole team kinda came over there like go, pushing, pushing, pushing. He got to about 38 [reps,] blew, the sides of his quads just erupted, boom. Legs, screaming, had to take him to the hospital.“
According to the players, there was a culture under Coach Meyer where injured players would be mocked, and the severity of their injuries would be kept from them.
Nixon spoke specifically of an incident regarding Gideon Ajagbe, a freshman for Meyer’s 2010 Florida Gator team, who contracted a severe infection in his shoulder that led to hospitalization. Before he was hospitalized, Ajagbe was forced to practice and was purposefully subjected to ridicule from the team.
Nixon said Ajagbe “was literally dying.” Despite having “bacteria eating the muscle in his shoulders,” Ajagbe was forced to carry “a 45-pound plate over his head… he was crying.” Nixon believed Meyer’s staff “didn’t adequately acknowledge” Ajagbe’s injury. Ajagbe confirmed this event in his own words:
“… it was bad. A lot of what played into my depression was they humiliated me. They thought I was trying to skip out on practice… the word they used, imma be frank, they said I was a pu**y. They’re like man, you’re a pu**y, you’re soft, you’re this, you’re that… There was one day, my arm was literally dangling, like I couldn’t lift my shoulder… And they were like everybody run like Gideon… The whole team, like everyone was laughing at me.”
Ajagbe said he communicated that he was in pain, but that Meyer’s staff would still push him to practice:
“And they’ll try to make me lift up weights, and I’ll literally have [my bad shoulder] up, I don’t know how I got it up there, but I would put all my weight on [my good shoulder…] But they didn’t know, nobody knew, but it was still like daggers.”
Ajagbe expressed remorse, saying, “My mom and dad sent me out here and they put all their faith in this coaching staff to take care of me.” The abuse nearly led Ajagbe to suicide.
After being examined by medical professionals, Ajagbe became depressed and struggled with pills. “Imma be honest with you, I was suicidal.” ”
“For six days nobody knew. They didn’t know how bad it was… ” continued Ajagbe, who claims that Meyer threatened to take him off the team unless he would start “being serious.”
Ajagbe explained how Meyer would psychologically abuse players:
“He’s the kind of dude that would get all the information he needs to get on you and he would use it to manipulate you or he would use it against you.“
“If [Meyer] know that you’re not really smart, he’ll put you in front of the team and make you do trivia. And everyone would laugh at you.”
William Green, another former Florida Gator, said he believes those workouts were excessive, and spoke more to the nature of “The Valentine’s Day Massacre” workout:
“The Valentine’s Day Massacre was a tough ass workout… so it’s basically like, we used to have these types of workouts for us, and they had them labeled by certain things. We had like Failure Fridays or the Massacre where we would [do] a workout that’s ridiculous. Like you’ll do a full body workout, but it’d be everything to failure. Benching until you can’t bench no more, pull down until you can’t pull down no more… pretty much, you’re feeling like you gotta throw up because they just running you down the field, up and down the field.”
Green explained “mat drills” where players “would literally get like choked out… the whole idea behind it… you’d have to wrestle, and it wasn’t like normal wrestling. It was like you both stand up… and there was and there was this one mat… and you gotta crawl across the mat. These guys on top of you. It’s his job to not let you get across the mat, and they literally get up on there and choke you. And you might go to sleep… It’s extremely unnecessary. We don’t talk about the stuff we used to do is not normal, at all. It just wasn’t.”
Nixon also described a pre-game ritual where Meyer would “grab a Gatorade bottle… and throw it at you.”
“I’m sure he thought he was joking, but it’s a f*cking full bottle of Gatorade, and he’s chucking it at people.”
This is the first video in an undercover series exposing issues in both the NCAA and NFL.