Voting for fair Urban Meyer hearing: Darcy cartoon

August 10, 2018

Voting for fair Urban Meyer hearing: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Both Ohio State University  coach Urban Meyer and OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith were aware of a history of domestic abuse allegations against now fired receivers coach Zach Smith.    But only Myer has been placed on paid leave while a six member committee investigates the matter.  Why?

What did the A.D. know, when did he know it, and what did he do about it?

In a statement released on social media, Meyer said he “followed proper reporting protocols and procedures” upon learning of 2015 domestic abuse allegations against his assistant.   Those procedures called for Meyer to inform his boss, A.D. Gene Smith.

In a radio interview, Zach Smith said the Athletic Director had called him back to Columbus from a recruiting trip to address the 2015 abuse allegations.   So Gene Smith knew as much as Meyer, if Meyer and Zach Smith are to believed.

If Gene Smith knew what Meyer did, in part because Meyer reported it, why is Meyer even on paid leave?  And why isn’t Gene Smith on paid leave with him?

2009 allegation is as pivotal as 2015 allegation

The investigative team needs to confirm not only what Meyer knew and when he knew it, but also what Gene Smith knew, when he knew it and what he did about it.  And they need to find that out not only about the 2015 allegations, but also the 2009 incident when Meyer and Zach Smith were working in Florida and Smith was charged with domestic violence.  Smith’s wife Courtney declined to press charges.

Why did Meyer not fire Zach Smith after he was charged with the 2009 felony?  Why did Meyer hire Zach Smith at OSU in 2012 despite the 2009 charge?

It’s now known that Gene Smith was aware of the 2015 incident.  Did Gene Smith know about the 2009 incident and still approve Zach Smith’s hiring?  

Investigative committee’s job just got tougher.

Determining the credibility of the allegations against Zach Smith has become more difficult and complicated for OSU’s committee because of sealed police and divorce court records, and claims from Courtney Smith’s mother and mother-in-law, that Courtney Smith’s allegations have been false.

Zach Smith was charged with felony domestic abuse in 2009, but Courtney Smith declined to press charges.   While Powell, Ohio police responded to multiple domestic violence complaints from the Smith residence from 2012 to 2015, they never charged  Zach Smith with domestic violence.   Powell police have sealed their records and the committee will not have access to them. 

Sports writer Jeff Snook has reported on his Facebook page, that Courtney Smith’s estranged mother, and former mother-in-law, have both said Courtney’s allegations are false and that she had vowed to “take Zach down and take Urban Meyer down with him.”

While the investigative committee seeks clarity, the story seems to be getting cloudier.   Sunday OSU announced the committee should have it’s investigation completed in two weeks.

Bill Landis has reported on Cleveland.com how restrictive Meyer’s paid leave is. Meyer is not permitted to have any contact with players, coaches or staff members.

Meyer is not permitted on campus property.  He is not allowed to use university issued communication devices or even email.

Gene Smith was Athletic Director when Jim Tressel was ousted over the tattoo scandal, which seems petty compared the domestic abuse scandal and the ongoing  sexual abuse investigation involving the former Athletic Department doctor, who committed suicide in 2009.

Smith’s contract requires him to immediately report to the university and compliance departments any person he has reason to believe “violated or is likely to violate or may potentially have violated ” OSU’s standards of conduct.

Meyer and Gene Smith have questions to answer.  So does the president on the university.  Why wasn’t Gene Smith put on the same  highly restrictive paid leave  Urban Meyer was?

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