Ohio football is on the ropes: OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave

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Ohio football is on the ropes: OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:16 am

Ohio State puts Urban Meyer on leave amid investigation into assistant’s alleged domestic abuse
By Will Hobson
August 1

ImageOhio State Coach Urban Meyer has denied knowing about the 2015 domestic abuse allegation against former assistant Zach Smith.

Ohio State placed football Coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave late Wednesday after the ex-wife of a longtime assistant called into question Meyer’s claims he was unaware of a 2015 allegation of domestic abuse against the assistant.

In an interview published Wednesday, Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of recently fired Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith, said she discussed the incident — in which she claims her ex-husband shoved her against a wall with his hands around her neck — in 2015 with Shelley Meyer, Urban Meyer’s wife.

“All the [coaches’] wives knew,” Courtney Smith told Brett McMurphy, a college football reporter laid off by ESPN last year who posted the story on his Facebook page. “They all did. Every single one.”

Smith provided text messages she exchanged with Shelley Meyer in 2015 about the incident, which brought a police visit but did not result in criminal charges against Zach Smith.

Meyer fired Zach Smith last month after the 2015 allegation came to light, as well as a 2009 incident in Florida in which police arrested Zach Smith on a domestic violence charge that Courtney Smith eventually dropped. At a news conference last month, Meyer said he knew about the 2009 incident and did not believe the initial allegations raised were accurate but denied knowledge of the 2015 allegation.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Ohio State said it was conducting an inquiry into the allegations raised by Courtney Smith. Meyer, in a separate statement, said he and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith agreed “being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion.”

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach for the Buckeyes, who open training camp in Columbus on Friday.

“I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter,” Meyer said.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Zach Smith denied assaulting his ex-wife.

“Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible, but it is not going to be done today through the media. It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify,” attorney Brad Koffel said. “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

In 2009, Zach Smith was a 25-year-old intern on Meyer’s staff at Florida when police were called to his home early one morning. Courtney Smith, then about 10 weeks pregnant, told police that her husband had “picked her up and threw into the bedroom wall,” a report states. Zach Smith was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman.

Within days, Courtney Smith claims, she heard from two close friends of Urban Meyer, who both asked her not to pursue the criminal charge. One was Earle Bruce, a former Ohio State coach and Zach Smith’s grandfather. The other was Hiram deFries, a former oil executive and longtime Meyer confidante.

“[DeFries] said, ‘If you don’t drop the charges, Zach will never coach again,’ ” Courtney Smith told McMurphy, the former ESPN reporter. “ ‘He’s never hit you before. He was drinking. He’ll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance.’ ”

DeFries was unable to be reached for comment late Wednesday.

At Big Ten media days last month, Meyer discussed his recent firing of Zach Smith and acknowledged awareness of the 2009 incident.

“It came back to me that what was reported wasn’t actually what happened,” Meyer said. “And Shelley and I actually both got involved because of our relationship with that family and advised for counseling and wanted to help as we moved forward.”

Meyer denied knowledge of subsequent allegations of domestic violence against Zach Smith, who joined the Ohio State staff in 2011. According to Courtney Smith, however, she reached out to Shelley Meyer after another incident in October 2015, when, she claims, Zach Smith shoved her up against a wall as their 3-year-old daughter clung to her leg.

“I am with you! A lot of women stay hoping it will get better,” Shelley Meyer texted Courtney Smith, according to messages she provided. “Do you have a restraining order? He scares me.”

Courtney Smith obtained a restraining order against her husband a few weeks later, then filed for divorce.

The 2009 and 2015 reports came to public attention last month, after Zach Smith, 34, had to appear in court on a charge of misdemeanor trespassing over an incident that he says actually was a dispute with his ex-wife over when and where he was supposed to drop off their son. Subsequent media reports uncovered prior allegations.

A few days later, Meyer fired Smith.

“It’s a decision that was made for the best interest of our team,” Meyer explained last month.

Meyer, 54, is one of the must successful active coaches in college football. In six seasons at Ohio State, he has compiled a 73-8 record and won the 2014 national championship, his third, along with titles he won in 2006 and 2008 at Florida.
Last edited by jserraglio on Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ohio football is on the ropes: OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:28 am

WAPO Analysis
Urban Meyer might not be long for his job if Ohio State follows its own playbook
By Matt Bonesteel
August 2

ImageWill Urban Meyer coach another game at Ohio State? History says don’t count on it.

The allegation levied against Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer by the ex-wife of one of his former assistants is bad enough, with Courtney Smith questioning Meyer’s claim that he was unaware of a 2015 domestic-abuse allegation she levied against her ex-husband, recently fired Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Ohio State’s job now, as it conducts an investigation into what Meyer knew and when, is to determine if that allegation is bad enough to result in Meyer’s dismissal, should it be proven true.

Based on the NCAA powerhouse’s past history with scandal, it most certainly is. And the fact that Meyer — who was placed on paid leave Wednesday — has led the storied program to a national title and suffered only eight losses since his first season in 2012 shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

Jim Tressel achieved iconic status at Ohio State in 2002, his second season in Columbus, when he led the Buckeyes to a 14-0 record and a stunning upset of Miami in that season’s Fiesta Bowl, giving the program its first consensus national title since 1968. Tressel would lead Ohio State to seven more top 10 finishes, twice ending the season as national runner-up. Still, he was forced out in 2011 after it was revealed that he had failed to notify both school officials and NCAA investigators about his players’ longtime involvement with the owner of a local tattoo parlor, who gave the players cash and discounted tattoos in exchange for signed team memorabilia and championship rings, a violation of NCAA rules.

Seven years earlier, Ohio State fired men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brien, who also had found success in just his second season in Columbus, leading the Buckeyes to their first Final Four appearance since 1968. O’Brien’s dismissal followed his admission that he had provided a $6,000 loan to the mother of Aleksandar Radojevic, a Bosnian recruit who signed a national letter-of-intent to play for the Buckeyes in 1997. Radojevic would never play for the Buckeyes, however, after the NCAA discovered he had been paid to play by a Montenegrin professional team in 1996, and O’Brien claimed he loaned out the money only for humanitarian reasons — not as an inducement to play for the Buckeyes — after discovering that Radojevic would never play at Ohio State. While the NCAA did find that O’Brien was aware of improper benefits given to another European recruit, effectively ending his big-time coaching career, O’Brien would later sue Ohio State for improper termination, with a judge finding in his favor and awarding him $2.4 million in back pay.

Covering up a tattoos-for-merch scheme. A shady-looking loan that turned out not to be shady. As misdeeds go, those fall pretty far down the questionable-morals list. (And, again, O’Brien was fired in part for something that was completely on the level.) But Meyer is being accused of something else entirely: Knowing about an assistant coach’s violent tendencies and doing absolutely nothing about it.

There’s also the matter of Meyer’s contract, which was amended earlier this year with clauses that outline the ways the school can fire him for cause (in other words, without paying a buyout that currently sits at $38.1 million). As detailed by USA Today, Meyer’s contract states that he can be fired for cause for failing to report incidents of abuse to the school, including “violations during employment of Coach at Ohio State or any other institution of higher learning.” This would seem to cover Meyer’s past employment at Florida, where a 2009 incident between Courtney Smith and her husband, then an intern on Meyer’s Gators staff, took place. (Meyer said he knew about that incident but not one that happened six years later, when Zach Smith was his wide receivers coach in Columbus.)

Add it all up — Ohio State has not hesitated to fire big-name coaches in the past for much less serious allegations, and it appears to have the authority to do so now without incurring a sizable financial hit — and it isn’t hard to read the tea leaves, should the allegations against Meyer prove true.

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Re: Ohio football is on the ropes: OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:40 pm

A football program on the ropes? I'm crushed. :roll:

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Re: Ohio football is on the ropes: OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer placed on administrative leave

Post by jserraglio » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:31 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:40 pm
A football program on the ropes? I'm crushed. :roll:
As am I. Tho' I am duty bound to root for Michigan, I respect the late great OSU Coach Woody Hayes. Took some students to hear him at an OSU alumni banquet and was totally unprepared for the charismatic speaker he was. Have followed OSU football ever since.

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