MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema unveiled a 12-player recruiting class Wednesday and was asked whether he had noticed any changes in recruiting in a Big Ten with new coach Urban Meyer now in charge at Ohio State.
Turns out, the answer is yes.
"There's a few things that happened early on I made people be aware of that I didn't want to see in this league that I had seen take place at other leagues," Bielema said. "Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. I was very up front and was very poignant to the fact. I actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him and the situation got rectified."
Bielema didn't disclose any details.
The Buckeyes visit Wisconsin on Nov. 17, and there's no telling whether the two coaches will talk more in the meantime.
Bielema lost six assistant coaches in the offseason while trying to land the recruiting class for the two-time defending Big Ten champions coming off an 11-3 season and their second straight trip to the Rose Bowl. Besides the 12 players signed to letters of intent, seven others received preferred walk-on offers.
"It was a blessing in disguise that it was a small class," said Bielema, who lost offensive coordinator Paul Chryst among others. "We're a relatively young football team. There really wasn't a lot of really huge numbers. If you were dealing with a class of 22 to 23, it would have been a challenge."
Two players who gave verbal commitments signed with other programs, including 6-foot-6 offensive tackle Kyle Dodson, an Ohio native who signed with Ohio State.
"Obviously there are two guys that at one point or another were committed to us, but in the end, they weren't really committed to us," Bielema said. "They were just a spot on the wall with a name and a scholarship next to them. But we transitioned, made due and still got some things out there."
One of class' touted players is Bart Houston, a 6-4, 215-pound quarterback out of De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., who led his school to a 39-1 record over three seasons as a starter. The Badgers will be replacing Russell Wilson, the dynamic quarterback who made a Heisman Trophy run last season and recently chose to pursue an NFL career instead of playing baseball.
All scholarship players for Wisconsin were signed to four-year offers instead of one-year, renewable deals. The four-year route was one favored by Big Ten Conference officials, but each program was given the option to do what it wanted, according to Bielema and Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez.
The four-year offer is not one that Bielema is in favor of, but he said he wants to do what's best for the students.
"We decided to go the four-year route and feel that's right for the kid," Bielema said. "Personally, I like the old system. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I thought we had a pretty good way of doing things, but it's a new age and a new way of doing things."
The Big Ten gave schools the option to adopt the four-year scholarships, rather than making it mandatory.
"The league office was supportive of it and encouraging everyone to do it," Alvarez said. "After it was voted down it was made optional. And that's something that will come up in the next cycle for the vote. Everyone had an option for what they wanted to do."