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Urban Meyer Suspended

August 22, 2018
 
 

Ohio State head football coach had been investigated for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against one of his former assistant coaches. 

Ohio State University has suspended head football coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the upcoming season following an investigation into whether he mishandled allegations that a former assistant coach abused his wife.

After a roughly 11-hour meeting with the university's Board of Trustees, Ohio State president Michael V. Drake announced the punishment against Meyer, one of the most prominent coaches in college athletics. Meyer will be suspended for the three games in September without pay. The matchups include a game against Texas Christian University, a top opponent in the Power 5 conferences.

Athletics director Gene Smith is also suspended without pay from Aug. 31 through Sept. 16.

An independent panel investigated the extent of Meyer’s knowledge into allegations that Zach Smith, a former assistant coach, abused his wife, Courtney, on multiple occasions. The group concluded that neither Meyer nor Gene Smith directly attempted to cover up Zach Smith’s actions, but they had failed to report it to Ohio State officials.

According to the panel’s report: "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."

The panel also was charged with figuring out whether Meyer was deliberately misleading with comments he made during a media conference in July about the allegations. It concluded he did not lie purposefully.

During a Wednesday night press conference, Meyer said he should have “demanded more” from Zach Smith and continually “gave [him] the benefit of the doubt.”

Zach Smith, who had been accused multiple times by his wife of domestic abuse, was fired from Ohio State.

Asked if he agreed with the suspension, Meyer said multiple times that he “respected” Drake’s decision.

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