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Friday, July 19, 2019

Urban Meyer

Why didn’t Urban Meyer apologize to Courtney Smith at press conference?

Urban Meyer

One of the most scrutinized and criticized aspects of Urban Meyer’s press conference on Wednesday was his decision not to apologize to Courtney Smith when given the opportunity to do so.

Meyer’s three-game suspension was announced on Wednesday at a press conference discussing the findings of an investigation by Ohio State University. During a Q&A portion of the session, Meyer was asked about Courtney Smith, the woman who claims she was assaulted by her ex-husband Zach Smith, a former Buckeyes coach.

“What message do you have for Courtney Smith?” Meyer was asked.

“Well, a message for everyone involved in this … I’m sorry that we’re in this situation. I’m just sorry we’re in the situation,” he said.

Meyer did not apologize to Smith, who claimed she was assaulted by Zach during their marriage. Courtney’s protective order filed against Zach led to his firing last month. Meyer’s decision not to apologize was met with widespread criticism as many viewed him as being insensitive to Courtney’s plight and the seriousness of domestic violence allegations.

So why would he decline to show any empathy towards Courtney? Perhaps the best explanation is that Urban, and his wife Shelley, do not believe Courtney’s allegations.

The investigation’s summary of findings states that both Urban and Shelley did not believe Courtney’s side of the 2009 and 2015 domestic violence allegations.

Here are the examples, along with the page in the summary of findings where the quoted material appeared.

Urban and Shelley did not believe Courtney’s 2009 allegation

“Coach Meyer and Shelley Meyer took away from the 2009 events that Courtney Smith was not being entirely truthful when she called 911 to have Zach arrested.” (page 4)

“Coach Meyer did not inform others at OSU about Zach Smith’s 2009 arrest. Coach Meyer has explained that he did not do so because no charges were filed and because he believed Zach Smith had not engaged in domestic violence in 2009.” (page 5)

Urban and Shelley did not believe Courtney’s 2015 allegation

“Because they believed Zach Smith’s denials and because there was no charge or arrest in connection with the 2015-2016 events, neither Coach Meyer nor AD Smith believed that there had been a violation or a potential violation of the law and therefore neither had reporting obligations regarding what they knew about the law enforcement investigation of Zach Smith.” (page 17)

“Shelley Meyer also maintains that she did not relay Courtney Smith’s expression of fear or allegations of abuse, including the photographs, to Urban Meyer at the time because she had doubts about the veracity of Courtney Smith’s allegations.” (page 8)

A big component of Urban Meyer’s defense is that he did not think Zach Smith assaulted his then-wife Courtney. That was his excuse for keeping Smith on staff until the protective order was reported. By not apologizing to Courtney in the press conference, maybe Urban Meyer feels he is doubling down on his stance that he does not believe Courtney’s allegations and therefore has nothing to apologize for. After all, if Meyer believed Zach Smith assaulted Courtney and still kept him on staff, that would have qualified as cause for termination.

Whether or not he truly believes Zach Smith is innocent, he has now tied himself to the defense and may feel he needs to stick with it.

Ohio State has the lamest excuse ever for believing Urban Meyer’s lies

Urban Meyer

Ohio State’s investigation confirmed that Urban Meyer was not being truthful at Big Ten Media Day about his knowledge of the 2015 allegations Zach Smith was facing. But their reason for believing Meyer’s lies was beyond lame.

One of the major questions the investigation sought to answer was whether Meyer knew about the 2015 domestic violence allegation Smith faced from his ex-wife Courtney. The investigation made it clear that Meyer had deep knowledge of the investigation.

From the investigation:

(d) From October 2015 through 2016, a long-term investigation by the Powell Police Department and the Delaware County prosecutor of Zach Smith for possible domestic violence and cyber offenses against Courtney Smith.
(i) In October 2015, Miechelle Willis, then the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the Athletics Department, received information from the Ohio State Campus Police about the Powell Police investigation; Willis immediately notified AD
Smith, who in turn notified Coach Meyer during a football practice that Zach Smith was under investigation for domestic violence and could be arrested at any time. AD Gene Smith recalls Coach Meyer having an immediate and strong negative reaction to this news;
(ii) AD Gene Smith directed Zach Smith to return immediately from a recruiting trip, and Coach Meyer, AD Gene Smith and others met with Zach Smith a number of times to discuss the issue and ongoing investigation. Zach Smith denied any domestic violence, and Coach Meyer told him that if “you hit her, you are fired.” AD Gene Smith also told Zach Smith that if charges were filed, he would be fired

Despite Meyer having an “immediate and strong reaction” to the news of the 2015 investigation, and despite matters being so serious that Meyer and AD Gene Smith met with Smith frequently, Meyer said at Media Day he had no knowledge of a 2015 incident.

Here are his comments:

The investigation report says they can’t understand Meyer’s response at Big Ten Media Day:

“We cannot logically square Coach Meyer’s responses on Big Ten Media Days broadly denying knowledge of the 2015 events regarding Zach Smith with his extensive knowledge of those events in 2015 and the evident knowledge of AD Gene Smith of the 2015 events reflected in the group text message of July 23 and July 24, 2018 sent to Coach Meyer,” the investigation report says.

So what is the excuse? They say maybe Meyer’s denial concerned a false report about a 2015 felony arrest Smith was facing. But the much larger concern is that they seem to be buying a lame excuse that Meyer sometimes has memory issues due to medication.

“We also learned during the investigation that Coach Meyer has sometimes had significant memory issues in other situations where he had prior extensive knowledge of events. He has also periodically taken medicine that can negatively impair his memory, concentration, and focus. All of these factors also need to be considered and weighed in assessing Coach Meyer’s mindset on July 24th.”

Is anyone actually buying the excuse that medication gave Meyer memory issues and that’s what led to his denials at Big Ten Media Days? Surely not even Ohio State fans can buy that. Still, that didn’t stop Ohio State from concluding that Meyer did not deliberately lie.

Ohio State does not believe Urban Meyer deliberately lied

Urban Meyer

Both Urban Meyer and Ohio State do not believe the head coach deliberately lied with his comments made at Media Day last month, even though he was quickly proven to have lied.

Ohio State announced on Wednesday a 3-game suspension without pay for Meyer for failing to adequately report what he knew about former assistant Zach Smith. Smith was fired on July 23, the same day Brett McMurphy reported about a protective order that was filed by Smith’s ex-wife against the Buckeyes assistant coach. Meyer said at Big Ten Media Day that he had no previous knowledge about Smith’s 2015 arrest. He was adamant that he did not know.

Here he is talking about it:

When McMurphy later reported that Meyer was lying, a big investigation was opened up regarding what the coach knew about Smith.

While speaking about his suspension on Wednesday, Meyer said he did a “poor job” at Media Day, but countered the notion that he deliberately lied.

“I did a poor job at Media Day. That’s a big reason why we’re here today. I was not being as complete and accurate as I should have been at Media Day, and afterward. But there was no intent to mislead,” Meyer said.

The school agreed.

The school said in its findings that Meyer should have done more to report what he knew but did not because he was acting in good faith about his belief in Smith’s character.

Ohio State suspends Urban Meyer for three games

Urban Meyer

The Ohio State Buckeyes have given coach Urban Meyer a three-game suspension without pay for his handling of allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

Meyer will miss the first three games of Ohio State’s season, while athletic director Gene Smith will be suspended without pay from his role from Aug. 31 through Sept. 16.

The report from Ohio State investigators found that Meyer and Gene Smith had both mistakenly believed they were following proper protocol in their handling of Zach Smith, but ultimately failed to. The investigation also found that neither Meyer nor Gene Smith deliberately covered up any allegations, nor did they violate legal or contractual obligations, which is likely why both are keeping their jobs.

Based on previous reporting, it would appear that Ohio State president Michael Drake won out over both Meyer and the Board of Trustees, who did not want a suspension and felt time served would be acceptable.

Meyer is set to miss one important contest. Home games against Oregon State and Rutgers likely won’t prove difficult for the Buckeyes, but Meyer will also not be allowed to coach the Sept. 15 game against TCU in Arlington.

Report: Ohio State trustees, president at odds over Urban Meyer punishment

Urban Meyer

The Ohio State Board of Trustees appears to be at odds with the school president on how to proceed with coach Urban Meyer, according to a report.

Dave Biddle of Bucknuts reported Wednesday that, as Wednesday’s marathon meeting goes on, the trustees want Meyer reinstated immediately, while president Michael Drake is pushing for some sort of suspension. No consensus has apparently been reached at this time.

One thing that is clear is that Meyer does not appear to be in any danger of losing his job over his handling of Zach Smith’s allegations. A suspension had been viewed as the most likely solution, but it appears increasingly likely that he won’t even get that, and the school may simply write off his administrative leave as “time served.”

Report: Urban Meyer pushing back against possible suspension

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is reportedly pushing back against a potential suspension for his handling of former assistant coach Zach Smith.

Meyer was placed on administrative leave by Ohio State University on August 1 as the school opened an investigation into Meyer’s knowledge of domestic violence allegations involving Smith. The investigation, which has been completed, is expected to lead to Meyer being suspended. According to Pregame.com founder RJ Bell, Meyer is pushing back against a suspension, even if it is a short one.

In an open letter, Meyer defended his conduct regarding his handling of Smith, though he did admit to essentially lying to the media about his knowledge of the allegations.

Meyer’s punishment will likely be announced soon. The school’s board of trustees is set to meet on Wednesday morning and will be presented with the findings of the investigation at that time. The Buckeyes open up the season on Sept. 1 against Oregon State.

Report: Urban Meyer likely to be suspended by Ohio State

Urban Meyer

While no final decisions have been made on the fate of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, early hints are he appears well-positioned to at least keep his job.

Citing two sources close to the investigation, Lucas Sullivan of the Columbus Dispatch reported Monday that the recommendation from Ohio State’s investigators will likely be some sort of suspension of unknown length. Meyer may also get some sort of “time served” punishment, as he has been on administrative leave since Aug. 1 while the investigation was ongoing.

The investigation has been completed, with a formal meeting of the board of trustees set for Wednesday morning to discuss Meyer’s future in depth.

Meyer has defended his conduct in his handling of former assistant Zach Smith’s inappropriate and abusive behavior. It appears likely that the Ohio State board will find some wrongdoing, but not enough to fire him or demand his resignation.