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October 2018
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‘Ohio State’ Articles

Ohio State Football investigation completed with both Gene Smith and Urban Meyer serving suspensions without pay





Mary Jo Smith Lead Investigator of the OSU Football Probe 8 22 2018


Dr. Michael Drake OSU President On OSU Football Probe 8 22 2018


Gene Smith OSU AD On the Football Probe 8 22 2018


Urban Meyer OSU Football Head Coach On Football Probe 8 22 2018


OSU President Dr. Michael Drake, Gene Smith and Urban Meyer (photo by Bane Rossi)

After consulting with The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, President Michael V. Drake late Wednesday night announced disciplinary actions for Head Football Coach Urban Meyer and Athletics Director Gene Smith based on an investigative report examining the handling of allegations against an assistant coach.

Meyer will be suspended through Sept. 2, 2018, and for the game days of Sept. 1, 8 and 15. This follows his absence from the team’s training camp while he was on paid administrative leave beginning Aug. 1. He will forgo six weeks of compensation.

Smith will be suspended without pay from Aug. 31 through Sept. 16.

“The discipline reflects our collective judgment based on the findings of the investigative report and the independent committee. The board fully supports this conclusion,” Drake said. “We made this decision today based on the facts and our values as a university. We value the truth, and this independent team thoroughly and faithfully sought the truth. We value consensus, and today’s decision represents the collective wisdom of the board and the leadership of our university.”

Mary Jo White, senior chair with the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, led the independent investigative team.

The investigators interviewed more than 40 witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents, including police reports, court filings, employment contracts and relevant university and NCAA rules and policies. The full report is here. Findings from the independent review include:

  • Meyer has a sincere commitment to the Respect for Women core value that he espouses and tries to instill in his players.
  • Although Meyer and Gene Smith failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts, they did so based upon a good faith belief that they did not have sufficient information to trigger a reporting obligation or initiate a disciplinary action against former assistant coach Zach Smith in the absence of law enforcement action.
  • Because other witnesses had the same uncertainties about what triggers university reporting obligations, Ohio State will clarify its requirements and implement additional training to reinforce them.
  • Meyer made misstatements at the Big Ten Media Days, but those misstatements were not part of a cover-up effort to keep Zach Smith on the coaching staff.
  • In light of the investigation’s identification of multiple examples of inappropriate conduct by Zach Smith while employed as an assistant football coach, Meyer and Gene Smith went too far in allowing him to remain as an employee in the face of that misconduct.

“I know the impact that the events of the last three weeks have had on this institution – an institution that I love – and how challenging this has been for our community and our president, a man for whom I have great respect. And for that, I am deeply sorry,” Meyer said. “I am fully aware that I am ultimately responsible for this situation that has harmed the university as a whole, our Department of Athletics and our football program. I want to also apologize to Buckeye Nation.

“The suspensions are tough, but I fully accept them.”

Gene Smith said that prior to the start of his suspension, he will consult with Ryan Day to reaffirm his continued service as acting head coach.

“I fully support the findings of the report and the subsequent actions that the university has taken,” Smith said.

“I want to thank our university community and all of Buckeye Nation for their understanding and humbly ask them for their continued support of our student-athletes – particularly our football team as they have prepared for the start of another season and academic year through all of this.”

An independent working group formed by trustees to direct the work of the investigative team was led by former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson and included former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart and current university trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate.



Ohio State says Urban Meyer investigation to be wrapped up in 2 weeks

Urban Meyer ( photo)

Ohio State released details late Sunday night that its committee investigating football coach Urban Meyer saying it expects the investigation to be completed in the next 2 weeks.

Meyer was placed on administrative leave last Wednesday after reports surfaced that contradicted his he did not know in 2015 that receivers coach and recruiting coordiantor Zach Smith had been accused by his now ex-wife, Courtney Smith, of abuse. Meyer, a few days later through a letter to the public, said that he did not truthfully answer questions regarding those alleged incidents about Coach Smith.

In the statement released by the university, former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson will serve as chairwoman of a six-person working group. Also serving will be Ohio State trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter, Alex Shumate. The committee will also be staffed by former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and Carter Stewart, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

The committee’s investigative findings will then be handed to Ohio State president Michael V. Drake. Then a decision will be handed down in consultation with the board of trustees.

The opening of the 2018 season is coming up quickly. The Buckeyes season opens at home Sept. 1 against Oregon State.

Fired Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith goes public to defend himself; says AD knew of 2015 incident

Ever since the story broke about former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith alledgedly hitting his wife multiple times, everybody has weighed-in on the topic.

Reporters are saying he is an abuser, he is a liar and Courtney Smith, his ex-wife, is telling the truth. Well, public opinion is not going to matter anyway cause Ohio State University has put together a committee to sort it all out, truth from fiction.

Zach Smith (courtesy OSU)

In a Friday radio interview, Coach Smith gave his side of the story about the allegations. He denied ever abusing his then-wife, and that athletic director Gene Smith was very much aware of an alleged incident in 2015. ”I’ve never committed domestic abuse against her,” Smith said during the radio interview.

Coach Smith said that Gene Smith pulled him off the road during a recruiting trip after the 2015 allegations were brought to his attention.

Coach Smith admitted during the interview, “Gene Smith said I have to immediately be on the next plane back.”

Coach Smith was fired in July after allegations of harrassment, stalking and trespassing were made by Courtney Smith as part of a protective court order she was granted. Mrs. Smith has come out in interviews this week that Coach Smith had abused her on multiple occasions.

Coach Smith said on the air that he was fired due to a “media uproar” after his ex-wife went public.

“It’s a move they had to make,” Coach Smith said. “I don’t think that I deserved it, but it wasn’t wrong.”

Those public revelations led Ohio State University to put head football coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave earlier this week so an independent group can investigate how Meyer, Gene Smith and others handled the entire situation concerning Coach Smith.

Eventhough Meyer fired Coach Smith, the former Wide receivers/Recruiting Coordinator doesn’t feel his former boss should be fired.

“If it happens, it’d be dead wrong,” Smith said. “If he loses his job, it’s flat wrong. This is the guy who fired me. It would be a crime.”

Coach Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State Football Coach, Earle Bruce, who passed away during the past offseason.





Urban Meyer, with heavy heart, issues Statement to the Public about Zach Smith situation

Urban Meyer talking to media ( file photo)

As Urban Meyer investigation unfolds, Ohio State Football keeping media away for the time being

With every August, comes Ohio State Football Fall Camp which leads to the opening of the new season. All of the media across the State of Ohio look forward to interviews with coaches and players.

But recent events will prevent that from happening for awhile.

An Ohio State Sports Information issued this statement on Thursday: ”The university is committed to supporting our student-athletes as they prepare for the upcoming semester,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Due to the ongoing investigation, football coaches and student-athletes will not be available for interviews until further notice and all practices will be closed. We anticipate providing an update on availability Monday.”

With the investigation into head coach Urban Meyer’s knowledge or no knowledge of former assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic violence issues, the football program will not make any coaches or players available for interviews, and will keep fall camp practices closed until further notice.

Ohio State Football practices are not normally open to the media, but every once in awhile they typically makes the first 40-45 minutes at a handful of fall camp practices available as opportunities for observations, photo and video.

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