Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Suspended

Sports
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FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2017, file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer walks on the field before an NCAA college football game against Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State trustees are set to discuss the future of football coach Urban Meyer. The 20-member board plans to meet in private on Wednesday […]

Ohio State Football Head Coach Urban Meyer will keep his job, but he will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season.

Meyer is suspended through September 2 and for the games on September 1, 8 and 15 without pay. Gene Smith is suspended without pay from August 31-September 16.

Ryan Day will remain the interim coach. He’ll coach the Buckeyes against Oregon State, Rutgers and TCU.

 

The University issued the following statement:

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.  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.  Urban Meyer is suspended through September 2, 2018, and for the games on September 1, 8 and 15 without pay. Gene Smith is suspended without pay from August 31-September 16

The investigation into the matter was conducted by an outside firm and a six-member university committee.

Heading the firm’s investigation is Mary Jo White, the firm’s Senior Chair, and former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York.

According to a release from Ohio State, “the Independent Investigatory Counsel interviewed more than 40 witnesses, some multiple times.  They reviewed over 60,000 e-mails and 10,000 text messages, in addition to relevant media reports, police reports, court filings, the employment contracts of Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith, and relevant OSU rules and policies, NCAA and Big Ten rules, and applicable state and federal laws.”

Investigators heard testimony from both Zach Smith and his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.

Zach Smith has never been criminally charged or convicted.

Meyer initially told reporters at Big Ten Media Days on July 25 that he didn’t know anything about abuse allegations made by Courtney Smith in October 2015. In a statement released via Twitter , Meyer admitted that he knew about the 2015 incidents and insisted he followed proper protocol. He also admitted lying to reporters about it.

What Meyer knew and when he knew it became a question after college football writer Brett McMurphy reported that Courtney Smith had told Meyer’s wife Shelley about the 2015 incidents and shared pictures of injuries through text messages that she shared with McMurphy.

Smith denied assaulting his wife and said any physical injuries she might have suffered were the result of him defending himself. He said he discussed the 2015 allegations at the time with Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith.

Ohio State’s policy on sexual misconduct says anyone who supervises faculty, staff, students or volunteers has a duty to report “when they receive a disclosure of sexual misconduct or become aware of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that sexual misconduct may have occurred involving anyone covered under this policy.”

A clause in Meyer’s new contract, which raised his salary to $7.6 million this year and runs through 2022, also requires him to “report to Ohio State’s Title IX athletics any known violations” of the sexual misconduct policy involving students, faculty or staff at the risk of being fired with cause.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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