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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer’s daughter takes aim at Jim Rome

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer’s family has always been very supportive of him during both the high points and low points of his career, and that has continued even as the Ohio State coach has seen his public image rapidly worsen over the past month.

Earlier this week, Jim Rome took aim at Meyer for “covering up for a piece of crap on his staff.” The longtime sports radio host repeatedly called Meyer a liar and went as far as to say he’s a “piece of garbage.”

Meyer’s younger daughter, Gigi, did not appreciate Rome’s take. She responded to Rome’s rant on Twitter by praising her father for all the good he has done.

Both Gigi and Urban’s older daughter, Nicki, have been ramping up their public support of the Buckeyes coach lately.

Meyer was fortunate to keep his job, but he has continued to defend himself as more information surfaces about the case involving one of his ex-assistants. At this point, anyone who continues to support Meyer probably can’t have his or her mind changed. All Meyer is doing by releasing statements and conducting interviews is keeping the story in the news.

Urban Meyer denies deleting old text messages

Urban Meyer

One of the interesting findings of Ohio State’s investigation into the conduct of head coach Urban Meyer was that there was evidence that old text messages had been deleted and attempts had been made to adjust his phone settings to make that happen.

Many viewed that finding as evidence that something improper had taken place relating to Meyer’s handling of former assistant Zach Smith, but in his first press conference after the conclusion of his suspension Monday, Meyer denied that he had ever deleted any text messages or changed the settings on his phone.

The text message findings were a key part of the investigation and were cited as evidence of “consciousness of guilt” on Meyer’s part. His denial very much does not line up with that finding.

Urban Meyer admits wrongdoing in handling of Zach Smith

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is taking some responsibility for the controversy that rocked the Ohio State program over the past several weeks.

Meyer spoke with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi for an interview that was released on Sunday. In the interview, Meyer admitted wrongdoing in his handling of former Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Meyer now says he should have made the athletic department aware of Smith’s 2009 arrest at Florida; never should have hired Smith at Ohio State in the first place; and that he should have fired Smith earlier.

“I erred when I made a decision to do the best I can to help stabilize that situation,” Meyer told ESPN. “And one of the things I look back now — I probably should’ve fired him.”

Meyer says that at the time he thought he was doing the right thing in trying to help Smith.

“I thought the best thing I could do with a very troubled marriage, with a child custody issue going on. And I really thought it through,” Meyer said. “I thought the best thing I could do is try to help stabilize this thing. If I fire him at the time, sever that relationship, and I see these two young kids. And that’s why I’ve always thought how do you help stabilize someone.

“At the time I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Meyer’s interview comes the same day his suspension at Ohio State ends. As part of his punishment for lying about his knowledge of the past allegations Smith was facing, he was suspended three games, though he was allowed to return to coaching his team on non-game days after Sept. 2. One prominent college football commentator does not think Meyer will be back as the Buckeyes’ head coach after the season.

Gary Patterson thinks Urban Meyer might break suspension rules

TCU head coach Gary Patterson does not think his Horned Frogs will have a coaching advantage over Ohio State when the two teams meet on Sept. 15.

Urban Meyer will be serving the final game of his three-game suspension as part of the punishment for his handling of former Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith during Ohio State’s game against TCU. That means Meyer is not supposed to have communication with his team/coaches during the game. Patterson thinks that’s a rule that a coach might not follow.

Here’s what ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg wrote on Friday night after TCU beat SMU 42-12.

Gary Patterson says facing an Ohio State team without Urban Meyer on the sideline won’t be an advantage for TCU. He said if he was in Meyer’s position, he would communicate with the staff in the game. When I told him Meyer couldn’t, according to his suspension, Patterson joked that he would do it anyway.

Ohio State already routed Oregon State 77-31 in their first game of the season. They take on Rutgers in their second game without Meyer, and then their game on Sept. 15 against TCU will be their toughest test without the coach. Of course, Meyer is still able to coach the team in practice during the week, and then, well, he might be able to do what Patterson thinks he will do during the game. No matter how you slice it, Ohio State still will be expected to go 3-0 to start the season.

Look: ‘College GameDay’ signs take aim at Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer

One of college football’s traditions is clever signs in the background of the “College GameDay” set, and there was one favorite target for some of Saturday’s fans.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, suspended by the school over his handling of former assistant Zach Smith, was mocked by many fans, both for the nature of his suspension and the many excuses he’s used since to defend his conduct both before and during the investigation. First, there was the sort that alluded to Meyer allegedly covering for Smith.

Some took the simple approach.

Then there were those who zeroed in on the fact that Meyer deleted his old text messages as the investigation took shape.

Meyer has spent a lot of time defending his conduct in recent days. It’s fair to say that a lot of these people are simply never going to buy it.

Urban Meyer issues new statement clarifying reason for suspension

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer has been suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season stemming from an investigation into domestic abuse allegations against one of his former assistants, but the Ohio State coach feels what is being reported about the punishment handed down is unfair.

On Friday, Meyer released a new statement in an attempt to clarify why Ohio State took disciplinary action against him. It’s clear the coach is determined to show he did not mishandle domestic violence allegations against a member of his staff, nor did he deliberately lie when speaking at Big Ten Media Days. Here’s the full statement:

Meyer’s statement mostly highlights findings from the investigative report, one of which states that investigators believe Meyer would have fired Zach Smith had he “come to learn or believe that (Smith) had physically abused his wife.” Meyer maintains that he was unaware Smith had assaulted his ex-wife and that he would have fired him sooner if he believed otherwise.

Meyer also emphasized a quote from the investigation that stated he simply denied at Big Ten Media Day that Smith had been arrested on felony charges in 2015, not that Smith had been accused of domestic violence. He did, however, take responsibility for not addressing Smith’s “work-related issues” sooner.

In addition to the domestic violence allegations, Smith is said to have engaged in all kinds if inappropriate behavior at work. Meyer’s latest statement indicates he regrets the way he handled that aspect of the situation, but he insists he did not choose to ignore domestic abuse. Text messages prove that Courtney Smith told Meyer’s wife Shelley about the abuse, so Urban appears to be claiming that either Shelley never shared that information with him or he believed Courtney was lying.

Paul Finebaum predicts 2018 will be Urban Meyer’s last season at Ohio State

Urban Meyer

Many feel that Urban Meyer got off easy when Ohio State announced that he is being suspended three games for his handling of domestic violence allegations against a former assistant, but one prominent college football analyst still believes the coach is on borrowed time with the Buckeyes.

Paul Finebaum, who works for ESPN and the SEC Network, said during his weekly appearance on WJOX 94.5 FM Monday that he believes Meyer will not be with Ohio State after the 2018 season.

“I’ve thought a lot about this. And you can look and interpret and say whatever you want, but I’ve come to at least an opinion on Urban Meyer that this will be his last season at Ohio State,” Finebaum said, as transcribed by Brad Crawford of 247Sports.com. “I just don’t know how much longer this can go on, and I say that because I strongly believe his credibility has been shattered.”

In Finebaum’s opinion, Meyer’s relationship with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has been strained and university president Michael Drake “wants nothing to do with him.” The longtime analyst also believes Buckeyes fans will turn on Meyer and recruiting is bound to take a hit.

“We’ve seen Urban’s past when he’s under the gun, he bails,” Finebaum said, presumably referencing the way Meyer left Florida.

Before the facts about the Zach Smith case were even released, we saw plenty of Ohio State fans rallying in support of Meyer. Whether right or wrong, it seems highly unlikely that the majority of Buckeye nation will turn on Meyer if the team continues to win. There has already been some minor recruiting fallout in the wake of the scandal, however, so that is certainly something to monitor going forward.