Let's cut to the chase in the Urban Meyer story now unfolding at THE Ohio State University.
Meyer, who has three national championships, two Big Ten titles and a 73-8 record in six seasons In Columbus, is on paid administrative leave (more about that later) while OSU officials investigate his role in allegations of domestic abuse that led to the ultimate firing of former assistant coach Zach Smith.
The incidents go back to 2009, when Meyer and Smith were both at Florida, but the case gained momentum last month when Smith was fired by Meyers after restraining order was filed by Courtney Smith against her now ex-husband.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
Originally, Meyer said he was aware of what happened in 2009, but not the incidents in 2015 and pleaded ignorance on most of the issues.
That changed dramatically, when college football reporter Brett McMurphy published text messages from Courtney Smith, including direct messages with Meyer's wife Shelley.
On Friday, Meyer stated that he made a misstatement and conceded he was not only aware of what was going on between Smith and his ex-wife in 2015, but reported it to the proper officials as he is mandated to do as an employee at Ohio State. He admitted he might not have told the truth to reporters when asked about the case at July's Big Ten Media Day.
Here's where it gets tricky.
It appears Meyer thinks that by maintaining he followed protocol and told his superiors, he can now resume his duties as the head coach at OSU, with the requisite apologies, of course.
Technically, if you believe Meyer's statements and tweets, his biggest crime was not telling the truth to reporters which, in this era, is more the exception than the rule.
Here's one of his many problems: By saying he followed protocol, it must be assumed Ohio State officials knew they had a domestic abuse case on their hands, but allowed Zach Smith to keep working for almost three years. In passing off responsibility, Meyer effectively threw HIS boss, OSU athletic director Gene Smith, under the bus.
But here's a bigger issue. Meyer said he knew about what happened three years ago and he told the proper people in the OSU administration.
But then he allowed a member of his staff who had been charged with domestic abuse to keep working?
The only defense for that action is to believe the theory that there was NO physical abuse. And not even Urban Meyer is trying to sell that right now.
Ignorance is a defense which some people will accept--especially from a coach with the coaching pedigree of Urban Meyer. If his record had not included any of those titles, does anyone seriously think that Meyer would still be employed at OSU?
Which again leads us back to a question I asked when the incident was revealed earlier this week. Why would a coach of Meyer's stature risk his job to protect an assistant head coach?
It still doesn't make sense.
I don't know what Ohio State will do when it concludes its investigation, which could last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Meyer faces a situation in which he is either guilty of ignorance, or unreasonable tolerance for domestic violence in an era when almost everyone--including Meyer in his own message to his team--agrees there is zero tolerance.
Maybe I'm missing something here. But if THE Ohio State university wants to maintain any sort of credence as a University, it must move on WITHOUT Urban Meyer.
In a strange, perhaps remote way, Boston College's footprints are all over the Ohio State case. Interim OSU football coach Ryan Day is a former BC assistant. Head coach Steve Addazio, hired Smith on his staff when he was at Temple, is also a former Meyer assistant and new BC athletic director Martin Jarmond came to The Heights from Ohio State, where he had direct dealing with many members of the football staff. It would seem at the very least, that Ohio State's investigation would include a discussion with Jarmond and Addazioo about what they knew.[/membership]