Take Two: Will Urban Meyer coach another game for Ohio State?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
The saga at Ohio State surrounding coach Urban Meyer’s future continues as the Buckeyes have opened fall camp without their coach, who is on paid administrative leave, and as everyone waits to hear whether he will be coaching in Columbus any longer.
On Friday, Meyer released a statement acknowledging that he lied at Big Ten Media Days when asked about his knowledge of an alleged 2015 domestic violence incident involving then-wide receivers coach Zach Smith and Smith's now ex-wife, Courtney Smith.
That same day, Zach Smith sat with ESPN for a lengthy interview. In Meyer’s statement, he said he has always followed proper reporting protocols when learning of any incident with someone in his program.
There are various theories working here whether Meyer and any lawyers involved are working to ensure he can negotiate his way out of Ohio State without losing bundles of money; from Meyer doing nothing wrong by properly reporting the 2015 incident and should be allowed back to coach; to Meyer knowingly having an alleged domestic abuser on his staff and did little about it for years.
As the investigation unfolds, more will be known about the situation. The season is less than a month away. With what we now know, will Meyer ever coach again at Ohio State or are the optics surrounding the situation now so bad that Meyer will have to leave the Buckeyes?
FIRST TAKE: KEVIN NOON, BUCKEYEGROVE.COM
“Not only do I see a realistic scenario, I see it as the likely scenario if you put any sort of belief in Meyer's Friday statement. If this Ohio State independent board finds sufficient evidence that Urban Meyer did in fact report and elevate these issues up the chain of command as required by his employment contract, then what is the basis of the fervor? Lying to the media? Sorry, last time I checked that was not a crime. That creates a slippery slope where every depth chart deception, injury report avoidance and general daily misdirection will now be turned into a Congressional inquiry.
"Poor judgment in the handling of Smith's employment? Smith was never arrested by Powell (Ohio) police in conjunction to the 2015 alleged incident (a fact that was first erroneously reported). The argument could be made that Meyer should have cut bait and run at that point, but with no charges filed, a termination at that point would have certainly led to a wrongful termination suit.
“Domestic violence is a very serious crime, a horrible and terrible act that has no place in our society. If proven to be guilty of it, these heinous acts have already cost Zach Smith his job and likely his career in coaching, but that will be determined in a court of law at another time on another date. Meyer just needs the investigators to find that he in fact did elevate these issues through the appropriate channels and as stated in a recent Pete Thamel article on Yahoo! Sports upon speaking to a legal expert, 'If this scenario is accurate, then Meyer and Ohio State are in a much better position to resolve the matter with some type of mutual acceptance of responsibility and modest penalty or corrective measures.'"
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“I’m going to say he won’t coach at Ohio State just based on what I know about administrative leave. That’s never a good sign, but that’s not the only reason.
“He came out and admitted that he lied. In this day and age, I don’t know if you can get away with it, especially when you’re talking about domestic abuse.”