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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Five most interesting findings from the Ohio State investigation

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer was suspended for three games without pay on Wednesday after Ohio State announced that it does not believe the coach deliberately lied about his knowledge of allegations a member of his staff was facing. But when combing through some of the findings of the investigation, it sure seems like Meyer got off easy.

Meyer did not tell the truth at Big Ten Media Day last month when he denied having any knowledge of 2015 domestic violence allegations against former assistant Zach Smith. There were many findings from the investigation that refute that and reflect poorly on Meyer. Here are the five most interesting:

Meyer’s first reaction was to try and delete old text messages

Brett McMurphy published an explosive report on Aug. 1 that included disturbing photos of Smith’s ex-wife’s injuries and screenshots of text messages that indicated she told Meyer’s wife, Shelley, and others about the abuse. When Meyer turned his phone over to investigators, they realized all of his text messages that were older than a year were deleted. They also determined that Meyer openly discussed with Ohio State’s director of football operations Brian Voltolini whether his texts could be combed through and if there was a way to delete them.

The investigation report said of the text message cleanup: “Often, although not always, such reactions evidence consciousness of guilt.”

Zach Smith was warned for spending too much at a strip club

Red flags about Smith’s behavior existed long before he was accused of domestic violence in 2015. In addition to a separate domestic violence incident when he was part of Meyer’s staff at Florida in 2009, Smith was found to be engaging in inappropriate behavior at and outside the workplace on numerous occasions. One such instance was when he ran up a $600 tab at a strip club during a recruiting trip in 2014, and Meyer warned him that he would lose his job if it happened again.

Meyer later changed the “morality clause” in Ohio State’s Coaches Manual and ordered staffers to avoid strip clubs or other venues that could potentially embarrass the university and the team.

Zach Smith went to rehab for drug addiction

In June 2016, Smith checked into a drug rehabilitation facility at the urging of Meyer to treat his addiction to a stimulant typically prescribed to people diagnosed with ADHD. Athletic director Gene Smith was said to be unaware that Smith went to rehab.

Ohio State thinks Urban Meyer has memory issues due to medication

This has been the hardest one for naysayers to believe. The investigation report stated that investigators cannot “logically square” why Meyer denied having knowledge of the 2015 allegations against Smith from his ex-wife, but they said Meyer’s denial may have had something to do with a false report about a 2015 felony arrest Smith was facing. Further, the report says Meyer has taken medication that can impact his ability to remember certain things.

That excuse has been met with a tremendous amount of skepticism.

Ohio State AD suggested Meyer consider firing Smith in 2016

Ohio State apparently had concerns about Smith long before McMurphy’s bombshell report. According to the investigation, athletic director Gene Smith suggested Meyer considering replacing Zach Smith in 2016.

Zach Smith was going through a divorce at the time, and it was negatively impacting his job performance. He was apparently late to meetings and missing appointments during that time period.



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