Ohio State placed head football coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave Aug. 1, shortly after Courtney Smith, former OU assistant coach Zach Smith ex-wife, said in a bombshell interview that she believed Meyer and others at the football program knew that her ex-husband was abusing her in 2015 and failed to do anything to stop it.
Meyer fired Zach Smith on July 23 after a pattern of past abuse and drug addiction surfaced and the social media moshpit got a hold of it. The media backlash was tremendous and the Twittersphere called for Urban Meyer’s head.
Ezekiel Elliot’s father joins rally supporting embattled OSU coach Urban Meyer – https://t.co/5tVVqQusJ6
After a thorough two-week investigation into the matter, which included more than 60,000 emails and 10,000 text messages, media reports, police reports, court filings, employee contracts and relevant OSU rules and policies being reviewed, Ohio State announced on Wednesday that the university has suspended Meyer through Sept. 2 without pay. Meyer can rejoin the program after Sept. 2, but won’t be allowed to coach the fifth-ranked Buckeyes first three games against Oregon State, Rutgers and No. 16 TCU.
I want to apologize to Buckeye nation. I followed my heart, not my head.” Urban Meyer addresses the media after being suspended by Ohio State. https://t.co/pV5YVwzAUr
OSU athletic director Gene Smith has also been suspended without pay from Aug. 31 until Sept. 16.
“Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes,” the school said in a statement. “Permitting such misconduct to continue is not consistent with the values of the University and reflects poorly on Coach Meyer, Athletic Director Smith, and the University. Their handling of this matter did not exhibit the kind of leadership and high standards that we expect of our Athletic Director, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches and all on the football staff.”
Meyer is lucky to still have a job. He was initially untruthful about being aware of Smiths domestic abuse only to change his story when it became common knowledge that he definitely knew. Meyer does maintain that he used proper protocol when reporting the incident in 2015.
“Meyer is contractually obligated to report any such issues. The six-person investigative group, impaneled by the university, has been led by high-profile attorney Mary Jo White, of the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
White, the former Securities and Exchange Commission Secretary, has experience handling and investigating crisis cases including Bounty Gate in the NFL and the off-field problems with Dallas Cowboys running back and former OSU star Ezekiel Elliott. The investigation began on August 5 and concluded August 19. Several witnesses were called to speak with the investigators.”
Regardless of how Meyer’s spins his transgressions, the national sentiment concerning this issue will continue to be explosive and controversial.
There are many people who wanted to see Urban Meyer fired.
Courtney Smith told Urban Meyer’s wife she’s being abused. Courtney Smith texted Meyer’s wife photos of the abuse. But the investigation decides Meyer had a “good faith belief” there wasn’t “sufficient information” to report it or to discipline Zach Smith? This is embarrassing.
His supporters feel like hes being made the scapegoat in a situation that he couldnt possibly do anything about.
So to be clear – Urban Meyer got suspended for 3 games for lying to the media?
Meyer has a 73-8 record in seven years at Ohio State and won the national championship with the Buckeyes following the 2014 season. Hell get another opportunity to chase a championship and lead young men in the near future.
Urban Meyer, suspended three games, survived because he is one of the greatest coaches in college football history. And that is the only reason.
Lets hope he does a better job of balancing his desire to win football games and the overall welfare of his staff and their families.