If there was one word to describe the last couple of weeks surrounding Ohio State football, this seems appropriate.
Starting with a fired wide receivers coach and moving to the uncertainty of the head coach’s future, now the focus has shifted to a laundry list of new, seemingly random breaking headlines every day.
The focus, for the time being, seems to have shifted miles past if head coach Urban Meyer will be on the sidelines at some point in 2018.
After former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy posted about the head coach allegedly knowing about Zach Smith’s domestic abuse history from 2009 and 2015 involving his ex-wife, Courtney Smith, Meyer was put on paid administrative leave for Ohio State to prepare an investigation to the accusations.
Meyer was put on paid leave on Aug. 1. The university then released a statement on Aug. 5 saying that the investigation is expected to be completed within 14 days.
On Day 8 of 14, this investigation has turned from what did Meyer know to: what information can be released to keep this story at the top of the news feed?
Zach and Courtney Smith’s mothers have voiced their thoughts on the situation, with both emphatically defending Zach Smith in the case. Lynn Bruce, Zach Smith’s mother, alleged to sports writer Jeff Snook that Courtney Smith was attempting to take Smith and Meyer down, and that she had told Bruce that “several times over the years.”
Tina Carano, Courtney Smith’s mom, said in a report on Monday by Snook that Courtney Smith “set him up in this whole thing,” and that Zach Smith “lost his job over something that didn’t happen.”
Snook has also released reports saying McMurphy’s source of information on the Zach Smith story was former Ohio State assistant coach Tom Herman, who is now the head coach at Texas. Snook said Herman was angry about losing five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson, a Texas native, to the Buckeyes, which motivated him to leak the information.
On Monday, news broke that Zach Smith refused to take a breathalyzer test in 2013, resulting in a DUI, as reported by Kyle Rowland of the Toledo Blade.
Stories about Zach and Courtney Smith’s past, their inconsistencies and where the information in the allegations has been received seems to be updated by the hour ever since the board put a timestamp on the investigation.
McMurphy’s information has appeared to change since his original report, as he was forced to go back on his word, saying he had direct evidence that Meyer knew about the 2015 incident, on ESPN. Then, he removed some of his previous allegations in future stories, including one where he said Earle Bruce, Zach Smith’s grandfather, met with Courtney Smith back in 2009.
Also, these developments have mostly come through Facebook, where McMurphy and Snook have dropped a large portion of the information to their personal pages.
All of these stories have added to the soap opera that is this Meyer investigation. But, none of these news breaks have had any sort of relevancy to the issue at hand: did Meyer do anything about the information he knew in 2015?
Here is what we do know: Zach Smith was fired on July 23 for the alleged domestic abuse. Meyer, while on administrative leave, said in a statement on Twitter that he followed proper protocols on the allegations back in 2015.
That is where the investigation will be looking, and all of the background noise in the past week hasn’t done a thing to assist the board in finding an answer.
As the investigation moves forward, the board talked to Courtney Smith on Monday, and is expected to meet with Zach Smith early this week.
Where this story stands, what is true? It’s impossible to know at this time. Where does all this new information leave Ohio State? Right where it started.
And because all these random stories have been thrown into the fire, somehow Meyer’s job security seems to have been lost in the smoke.