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Football: Ohio State forms independent board for investigation of Urban Meyer

OSU coach Urban Meyer prepares to lead the Buckeyes onto the field before the OSU- Army game on Sep. 16. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

There is an independent board group that will be working on the investigation surrounding Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer around the information he knew about the domestic abuse by wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith, according to a statement made by the university.

“The special working group will direct the work of the investigative team and be available to provide consultation and advice and assist with communication to the full board on the matter,” the statement said.

The group consists of six members: current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate, former Ohio House speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

The group is looking into allegations that Meyer knew about incidents of domestic violence in 2009 and 2015 by Smith on his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. In a report by former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy, he said that Courtney Smith exchanged text messages with wives of all the Ohio State coaches, including Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife.

The football team announced on Thursday they were closing all practices to the media until further notice.


  1. According to an August 1 Lantern article, “In 2009, Zach Smith, an assistant coach at the University of Florida at the time, was arrested by the Gainesville Police Department after aggravated battery of a pregnant victim.” Here are some questions for the “independent board group”: (1) Who at OSU approved the hiring of Zach Smith? (2) What, if any, role did Gene Smith have? (3) Was there any background check? (3) Was anyone at OSU other than Urban Meyer aware of the 2009 arrest? (4) Do the employment agreements of the coaching staff provide include provisions to deal with the type of conduct that Mr. Smith has been accused of, and if not why not?

    Other questions arise about Mr. Smith’s conduct and supervision while employed by OSU. (1) Did anyone at OSU interact with the Powell police or Delaware county prosecutor? (2) Was Mr. Smith known to have problems with alcohol or substance abuse? Was anyone in the campus police aware of what the Powell police knew?

    Most of the bad hiring decisions that the public is aware of have involved the medical center, but the recent stories regarding the wrestling and diving programs suggest that there may be systemic problems in the athletic department. The compliance department appears to have done nothing to correct the problems.


    I think Mr Meyer is an abject escape goat.

    I am a Rutgers Scarlet Knight. I think this suspension is total BS. Even though I hate watching the Bucks beating the crap out of Rutgers every year, I respect the powerhouse that is OSU. When Rutgers stepped into this grid iron brotherhood, it came with an oath of loyalty and support. We need each other. You can’t blame everything on the coach. This is going way too far and is bad for the BIG10. Politics and the promotion of what is subjectively “correct” needs to keep it’s ugly head out of college sports. This is bad for business, I hate this

  3. Once again, my beloved alma mater has placed itself in a situation it cannot win.You have the same cast of characters…Drake,Smith and Wadsworth.If you liked the way Jon Waters debacle was handled… you’re going to love this one.Leadership comes to the fore when things get difficult.The BOT is trying to shield Drake and Smith .Instead of getting in front of a problem,we seem to always be trying to catch up..I wish All the coaches and their wives peace.This is a difficult problem for the administration to wrestle with and pin down.Confidence in their arriving at a fair and just decision is not very high.Someone wrote a book entitled”You win with people”.Conversly, if you don’t have good people, you won’t accomplish much….. maybe they can form another select committee for the other major sport problem that must be too hot to handle.

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