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Football: Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer suspended three games

Head football coach Urban Meyer will be suspended through Sept. 2 and for the first three games of the season without pay, Ohio State University announced Wednesday.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith will be suspended without pay through Sept. 16.

A two-week investigation found that Meyer and Smith “failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts when they concluded that they needed to await a law enforcement determination to file charges before they reported the otherwise disputed claims of spousal abuse against [former assistant coach] Zach Smith.”

“I want to apologize to Buckeye Nation,” Meyer said. “I followed my heart and not my head. I gave the benefit of the doubt to Zach Smith.”

Smith said he supports the findings of the report and the actions the university has taken.

“I understand I could have done a better job in this instance,” Smith said.

The summary of investigative findings and university actions also states though Meyer made misstatements about the allegations made against Zach Smith at Big Ten Media Days, he was not a part of a “deliberate coverup” to keep the former assistant coach on staff.

Investigative team leader Mary Jo White said Meyer and Smith both knew about the 2015 events regarding the former assistant coach, saying that they both “did not report” to compliance.

When asked if he felt the suspension was fair, Meyer said “I trust and support our president.”

After a 14-day investigation that ended Sunday, the Board of Trustees met in an executive session on Wednesday to discuss the results and decide the future of Urban Meyer with President Michael Drake.
The Board came to the decision after 12 hours of deliberation at the Longaberger Alumni House.

“We looked at the findings and then we considered the range of options that might be available,” Drake said. “Then we worked hard to find a place that was just, fair and appropriate.”

Meyer arrived for the meeting with the Board of Trustees at 9:45 a.m. and was later joined by his wife, Shelley Meyer, and Smith.

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 after former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy first published the allegations of domestic violence by former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith in both 2009 and 2015.

Smith was fired from the university on July 23 after his ex-wife filed a domestic violence civil protection order against him.

At Big Ten Media Days in July, Meyer said he was aware of the incident in 2009 and believed it had been resolved, allowing Zach Smith to continue to coach on his staff at Florida. However, when asked about another incident from 2015, said, “I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there. I was never told about anything.”

On Aug. 3, Meyer released his first statement after being placed on paid administrative leave, saying he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures” when learning about domestic violence incidents and “did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015.”

Meyer also said he was “not adequately prepared” for the questions about the allegations against Smith at Big Ten Media Days in July, saying his intention was not to be misleading or inaccurate.

When asked what he would say to Courtney Smith, Zach Smith’s ex-wife, after the suspension was given, Meyer said: “Well, I have a message for everyone involved. For everyone involved in this, I am sorry we are in this situation. I am just sorry we are in this situation.” 

While offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day served as the acting head coach, Ohio State closed all practices to the media. The university formed an independent board to work on the investigation of Meyer.

Through six seasons as the head coach at Ohio State, Meyer posted a record of 73-8, winning the first College Football Playoff in 2014 and giving the school its eighth national championship.

With a career record of 46-3 in conference play, Meyer led Ohio State to six Big Ten East titles and two Big Ten championships. In six bowl games, Meyer posted a 4-2 record for the Buckeyes, including a win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.

Over the past four years, Ohio State, under Meyer, has produced 26 NFL draft picks, including seven first-round selections. Meyer also coached six consensus All-Americans while he was with the Buckeyes, including defensive end Joey Bosa, who was named an All-American twice.

Updated on Aug. 7 at 12:15 a.m. with quotes from the press conference. 

18 comments

  1. Alexander Williams

    The most amazing thing is how Meyer ends of holding the bag while Slippery Gene gets a two week vacation. What does he have on OSU leadership?

  2. Notice that not a single person involved denied that Zach Smith beat up his wife, yet no one at yesterday’s press conference had the decency to apologize to her by name. Anything to protect their precious football. The lip service to abuse at OSU is just that-lip service.

    Just a reminder:
    https://amp.businessinsider.com/urban-meyer-florida-2012-4

  3. Let me get this straight. Urban Meyer is supposed to know the intimate details of the sex lives of his coaches, players, and the water boy? Gene Smith (who according to Zach Smith) phoned Zach Smith in 2013 to return back to OSU from a recruiting trip due to the abuse allegation and then did nothing about the allegation? Did Gene Smith report this to Gordon Gee (president at that time)? If not, why not? Urban Meyer and Gene Smith discussed the alleged 2015 incident. Did Gene Smith report this to Drake (the Snake) or not? If not, why not? Why was Drake the Snake not suspended?

    Do I perceive some “reverse discrimination” here where Drake gets off scott free and Gene Smith gets a slap on the wrist and Urban Meyer gets the majority of the adverse media attention? (BTW, discrimination in either direction is still discrimination. Just to clear the air on that.)

    Embarrassing? Yes — for the way the trustees mis-handled the (still) alleged events according to skin color. Not only embarrassing but down right disgusting.

    • Geesh, drop the racist nonsense. Race played no part in this, so stirring up BS is gossip no one wants or needs. A woman got the hell beat out of her by her husband and at least two individuals knew about it. One lied repeatedly in public. The other didn’t report it. Both are fortunate to have their jobs, and the suspensions are a slap on the wrist when compared to the severity of the crime perpetrated by Zach Smith.

      • Common Sense — So I can not bring up a point of view other than yours? Sounds more like Nonsense to me than Common Sense. And, yes, I AM alleging that race played a major part in the discipline part of this mess. What few people are mentioning is Zach Smith’s wife’s part in this. Some women DO become hysterical over small things (as do some men). I do not know either of them, but I don’t think that both sides of their personal actions have come out. In today’s politically-charged atmosphere, generally the woman’s side is assumed to be correct and the guy is assumed to be in the wrong — regardless of the facts. Remember that there are two sides of every coin. Or is that too common sensical for you?

        • You can bring up your point of view and I will call it out for what is a departure from common sense. PEOPLE can become hysterical over small things, saying women then men tells me you believe that more about women then men, your just throwing men in there as some qualifier, like saying I don’t mean to be rude but. Sounds like besides teaching medicine your also teaching Mansplaining. I can fully believe you were a great teacher of medicine, but how the world works I think not.

          • You know, so-called “Common Sense”, I read your reply several times and for the life of me, I can’t make sense of what you are trying to say — common or otherwise. Do you want to try that discourse again, this time in logical thought structure, grammar and punctuation, or are you content to let that one lie in the steaming pile of “things I should not have posted before my second cup of coffee”?

          • You don’t have sense to make any, you live in the world of your own making. I have no caffeine addiction and I have better things to do then worry about grammar in an online reply. Go watch reruns of Mad Men so you can live in the world you so fondly remember.

  4. DrBob just go by Bob because your credentials have been revoked. Gene should have been fired, but Urban got off easy. He had some inkling of who Zack Smith is and let’s not forget the Florida program was a wreck after he left because he wrecked it. Gene never reported to compliance so forget Drake knowing it. Nice way to turn this into another oh woe is the white man story.

    • A “real” doctor — I used to teach folks like you (assuming you may have a MD). Sorry, you can’t revoke this teacher’s credentials. And I stand by every word of my original post. I agree that Gene Smith should have been fired, but he just got a slap on the wrist (as I said).

      • Your failure is to think his slap is due to skin color, it’s about the color of money. Your also making Urban out s some kind of martyr, when what he is a great coach with some very flawed judgement. You can stand by your original statement and stand in the middle of traffic both of which are bad decisions.

  5. So the screaming snowflakes think a man should be fired for not firing a man who hadn’t even been charged with a crime?

  6. So any protests? Any outrage that will force these idiots out of a job?….no…of course not, it will be forgotten and business as usual….any women speaking up or demonstrating?….apathy is a disease in this country.

    • Bob,

      It’s not surprising that we see few speaking up about the real issue, which is a guy who beat up his wife. We see it over and over again. As I posted earlier, no one involved has denied the truth behind Courtney Smith’s allegations. Its sad how football has become more important that people and that given the choice, so many people are more concerned with their football team than with the toxic culture that the Penn State episode apparently did not cure.

  7. Wow, the paid trollers are out in force to protect Drake, Wadsworth & Smith. Follow Drake and Wadsworth’s handlers right back to the rogue CIA and the globalist military-industrial complex. Sadly, Ohio State supports continuous war. Drake is just their placeholder. You doubt? Follow the money. Study the Battelle military contracts and the money that flows to Ohio State from them. Then, check out the secretive data centers being built by Amazon, Google and Facebook in Columbus where even the ditch diggers must sign nondisclosure agreements. Then, watch these paid hacks trash my comment. Never mind. Close your ears to the noise and FOLLOW THE MONEY. The revenue from football and basketball is paltry when compared to the billions of dollars these guys and their friends are making from continuous war. What is their motive in attacking Coach Meyer? Not sure, but these witch hunts are always conveniently timed. He may be just too successful, and them just incurably jealous at his real creativity as compared to their fake-osity and theft. Now, have at this comment trollers. Its what you do. We get it.

  8. What about the what the news media has treated this whole thing. Frankly, and not for this issue, I’m tired of them being judge, jury and having all the right answers to pass down a verdict. So Urban quits, what have you accomplished. have Mr or Mrs Smith learned anything, Didn’t they agree to a marriage contract and could Mrs Smith gotten out. Why stay around if you are married to someone who treats you this way, get out, Mr Smith you are not entitled to harm anyone with just reason. Grow up you both. Mr Smith, do you have a dangerous temper problem. Too many who do walk away.

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