Yesterday, Ohio State levied a three-game suspension on Urban Meyer. Now, seeing a major college coach forced to sit is odd. Like him or not, Urban Meyer moves the needle. His prolific recruiting brings elite talent to Columbus year after year. Yet, for all of the accolades and personal achievement, many view him under the lens of disgust, with great reason. Urban Meyer’s track record as a leader of men off the field makes his suspension the lightest slap on the wrist ever. Moreover, it captures a recent history of lawless leadership.
During his six seasons at the University of Florida, police arrested his players 31 times. Granted, most fans were glued to the TV, watching Tim Tebow and company light up scoreboards and defenses. Meanwhile, Aaron Hernandez engaged in mayhem from alleged shooting to rupturing someone’s eardrum via a punch. Yet, Meyer won national titles. As a result, his players, in the minds of many earned a pass. If Meyer did not seem particularly affected, why should people care? Defenders quickly rose to state “kids will be kids”.
According to his ex-wife, Courtney, former Ohio State WR coach Zach Smith abused her. In texts that she provided Brett McMurphy, Mrs. Smith confronted her husband. Also, she told Meyer’s wife. While Smith’s non-abusive behavior includes lewd acts at work and disgracing the White House hand towels, his ex-wife’s claims take precedence.
Buckeye fans are quick to ask why Mrs. Smith never called the police. Somehow, this remains their wafer-thin defense. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 44 percent of all domestic violence goes unreported. Under those circumstances, Courtney Smith did what almost half of victims do. In that same report, only forty percent of domestic violence calls end up in arrest. Yet, Meyer supporters will hold on to Mrs. Smith’s choice to not report. Instead of looking deep at Zach Smith’s abhorrent alleged behavior, they choose to attack the victim.
If the Buckeye fans would have looked deeper. In 2009, Zach Smith was arrested for assaulting his wife, Courtney, three months pregnant at the time. Yet, people persist with the vigorous defense. Six years prior, an incident existed. Somehow, Smith still found employment with Meyer.
In July, at the Big 10 Media Day, reporters pressed Meyer about his knowledge of the abuse allegations. Meyer flatly denied knowing anything about any of the 2015 events. Below, Smith details his side at media day. he admits to knowing about Smith’s 2009 incident, but brushes it off.
Latest From FPC on SportsCastr
Zach Smith does not work at Ohio State. Courtney Smith became the target of oatmeal-brained fools.
Meanwhile, Urban Meyer sits home for three meaningless, non-conference games. Plus,he still calls Ohio State his employer. If you are worried about what damage this does to is legacy and reputation, stop. Meyer seems to have left that in Gainesville
In all of this, the Ohio State University emerges with a crushing loss of reputation. In sparing Meyer, the Buckeyes lost humanity. From the outside, it appears that wins and loss matter more than honesty and valor. Coaches enter the homes of recruits, promising their parents to take care of their children. However, when these coaches spiral out of control or cover up for their brethren, no accountability exists.
For failing to properly handle the allegations, Urban Meyer received a three-game suspension. Now, let’s look at other suspensions
2017: UNC QB Chazz Surratt
Infraction: Selling his own sneakers
Penalty: 4 games
2014: UGA RB Todd Gurley
Infraction: Selling game jersey
Penalty: 4 games
2010: UGA WR A.J. Green
Infraction: Selling bowl jersey
Penalty: 4 games
In reality, Ohio State boasts one of the most passionate and loyal fanbases in college sports. In contrast, some take blind loyalty too far. Urban Meyer kept a coach employed for years after abuse allegations surfaced. In addition, he denied any knowledge of them. Yet, the administration at Ohio State softens the blow with “misrepresentation”. No, he lied. Still, many fans blame others.
After Ohio State lightly slapped Meyer’s hand, he issued the most tepid, room temperature, bland apology to date. Instead of mentioning Courtney Smith by name, he used the catch-all phrase of “ everyone” If you read body language, what does Meyer say to you?
Why bring Zach Smith to Columbus after the 2009 incident?
When did Meyer know about the 2015 abuse?
Ohio State fired Jim Tressel for his players and their involvement with a tattoos for memorabilia exchange. The NCAA gave him a five-year show cause. How does Ohio State justify Meyer’s continued employment?
How is Courtney Smith doing? While not a celebrity, her alleged abuse at the hands of her husband remains the center of this issue?
Is keeping a coach that apparently enables atrocious behavior worth flushing prestige and credibility?
In essence, the Buckeyes should win double-digit games once again. Yet, football fans in general should feel a sense of irritation. While we knew how little the NFL thought of domestic abuse, some hoped that college, bastions of educational enlightenment would feel differently. However, they do not.