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Football: Ohio State allowed Urban Meyer to meet with coaches and players before suspension

Urban Meyer listens at a press conference as he fields questions about his handling of the Zach Smith domestic abuse allegations on Aug. 22, 2018. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been cut off from all Buckeye football activities since being placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1.

However, he was allowed to meet with the team and coaches on Thursday with athletic director Gene Smith, so the players and staff could “hear from him and cover interim leadership during the suspension period including the three games he will not attend,” Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey said.

Meyer will not be allowed to attend any practices, meetings, official events or appear in any official capacity at any Ohio State football events while on his suspension, according to an email to Meyer sent by Susan Basso, senior vice president of the office of human resources.

The email also said he will not be allowed to communicate with staff, student-athletes, recruits or others, or “otherwise conduct any business related to your role for this time period.”

It went on to say he will be allowed to resume his head coaching duties on Sept. 3, but that he cannot perform any of those duties for a 24-hour period around the game days of Sept. 1, 8 and 15, and he cannot appear at any pregame activities or the game itself.

Meyer did not receive the official terms of his suspension until Sunday, Davey said.

Basso said in another email that Meyer was authorized by Ohio State to have one opportunity to meet with the team. She said the meeting took place with Smith present on Thursday “for roughly 45 minutes at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.”

When Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1, he was forbidden from talking to any players or coaches on the football team, among several other restrictions.

Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said during Monday’s press conference that he spoke with Meyer while he was on leave.

Schiano said the discussion was “personal” and not about football.

“Well Urban is, before he’s my boss, he’s a friend. I’ve known him for over 20 years. So when I was allowed to, I did communicate,” Schiano said. “It was about him. Because I was worried about him. I’ll leave it at that.”

Davey said Meyer had limited conversations with coaches including Schiano, and that “limited conversations between Wednesday and Sunday were not in violation of the suspension because they would have occurred before” Meyer received the suspension letter.

In Basso’s email, she said Meyer could have “no further contact with University staff or students related to your role” as head coach after that meeting.

Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season and will remain suspended without pay until Sept. 2. He will be allowed to resume coaching at practices after that, but cannot be on the sidelines on Saturdays.

The suspension was the result of a 14-day investigation led by Mary Jo White, the former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and current senior chair of Debevoise and Plimpton. The investigation was looking into Meyer’s knowledge of domestic abuse allegations surrounding former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

12 comments

  1. Well at least Meyer won’t “trust the police” to investigate legal matters thanks to the idiots on the board.

  2. Coach should take entire family on an extended vacation outside Ohio & then resign upon his return. Years ago I lost total interest in NFL & I am near that point with college football—too damn many “stupid” adults involved.

    • Probably the best idea I’ve heard with regard to this whole mess. Ohio State botched this whole thing. Unfortunately I think it would be reported as guilt and the media would dance around a bonfire with their pitchforks. Fight on Mr. Meyer.

  3. Mary Jo White…. nominated for Securities and Exchange Commission by Obama.. worked for Clinton and Bush … succeeded James Comey on Appeals Court….. perfect representative for Drake and BoT.The leadership under Drake is second to none.Jon Waters,Thad Matta,Urban Myers,Dean of Law at UC- Irvine… wrote “polarizing comments”…. had to be hired back and Gene Smith. We’ve had nothing but turmoil with Drake.He hides behind Title IX …. gets jammed up… hires outside law firms and eventually must have the BoT bail him out. There is a pattern here…. Mother Theresa wouldn’t have a chance in Buckeye land.I don’t trust or respect the president of my alma mater.Who is next??The guy from California needs to go!!!

  4. The similarities in this case and the Comey “investigation” into Hillary’s server, et al. are quite clear. (Kudos to Curt Schilling for this analysis). Both investigators laid out the case against the perp and then, at the 11th hour, basically said, “Oh, never mind.” The stench that is college sports is overwhelming. Winning is the only thing that matters and OSU proved it, again, much to this alumni’s dismay. I know I’m not alone. Is one man that important to the program that all morals and civility are thrown out? Sadly, the answer is yes.

    • I believe your sentiment is shared by other alumni and just plain fans. The overall stench from the NFL has filtered down to the college level. Winning is fame and, fame brings money. That’s true in college sports, corporate America and politics.

  5. I am abhorred by the thought of domestic violence. What if a true investigation on the alleged incident proved that it was fabricated? I am not defending Zack as he seems to have numerous character flaws, but was this possibly a witch hunt. If the allegations are proven false, a lot of reporters and OSU administrators look bad and true domestic violence victims will be violated again as people will doubt them.

  6. Hopefully all media were prohibited from attending the meeting between the coach and team/staff. Is he also prohibited from having his daughter, grandchild and son in law over to the house during the suspension?

  7. How can Meyer be suspended for the first three games yet he is allowed back in Sept 2 and can be involved in practice all week long leading up to those games? He just can’t be on the sidelines for those games.
    Not much meat behind the suspension!

    • He shouldn’t be suspended to begin with lol. If he’s guilty, then fire him. If he’s not, let’s press on! Why are we wasting unnecessary time with pointless suspensions with loose stipulations? Just so the university can say “We did our due diligence, and this is what we came up with.” Smdh terrible lol

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