Russ Kent column: If true, Urban Meyer has to go


If the allegations are true, Urban Meyer cannot remain as Ohio State’s football coach.

The key is … if the allegations are true.

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday by OSU, while university officials — and others — investigate whether Meyer knew of a 2015 incident involving assistant coach Zach Smith.

Smith was fired last week after an accusation of domestic violence against his wife Courtney came to light. Smith is a long-time Urban Meyer friend and assistant, and the grandson of former OSU coach Earle Bruce.

Since that time, news of a domestic violence incident regarding Smith in 2015 have come to light.

When asked about that incident, Meyer claimed at the Big Ten meetings last week, that he was unaware of a 2015 incident. That is the basis of Meyer’s removal “temporarily” as Ohio State’s head coach.

Meyer said he was aware of a 2009 incident involving Smith and his wife, but said it was not what was reported in the media. Therefore, no action was taken with Smith in 2009, when Meyer was head coach in Florida and an Smith was one of his assistants.

Courtney Smith said in a media article released Wednesday that there is no way that Meyer was not aware of the situation in 2015.

Which is where we are today

If Meyer was aware of the 2015 incident — on top of the 2009 incident, even though no charges were filed in 2009— and Smith remained as one of his assistants, that is a problem in and of itself.

At the minimum, in an age where many colleges and leagues and business owners are preaching “no tolerance,” these charges are a truly ugly black eye on The Ohio State University and Meyer.

The questions remains. When did Urban Meyer learn of the 2015 incident?

Smith was — and should have been — fired last week.

If a similar incident occurred in 2015, Smith should have been terminated at that time, is that incident was known to Meyer and OSU officials.

Should he have been fired in 2009? Probably. But like it or not, the world was a different place at that time.

The fact remains, Smith has not been convicted of any domestic violence issues. That includes the incidents in 2009 and the alleged 2015 incident.

In that regard, neither Urban Meyer nor Ohio State, did nothing ‘wrong’.

But morally, Meyer failed big-time.

If Ohio State learned of the 2015 incident — and Smith remained on staff — it also is a big-time moral failure by the university and athletics department.

Zach Smith’s reputation, Urban Meyer’s reputation and the reputation of The Ohio State University must take a back seat to the safety of a victim of domestic violence.

In 2018, Meyer and the University did the right thing.

It remains to be seen if the right thing was done in 2015.

It remains to be seen if Meyer was aware of the 2015 incident, although, it appears that was the case.

As far as 2009?

I don’t know.

Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel wasn’t fired because some of his players made extra money for selling shoes and other Ohio State apparel.

He was fired for lying about the fact he knew what his players were doing. He was fired for lying to his bosses, and the media uncovered his lies.

Sounds familiar, right?

If Meyer was aware if the 2009 incident involving Zach Smith — he was. And if we was aware of the 2015 incident — and it appears he was. And after those two incidents, Zach Smith remained on his staff, Meyer must receive some type of punishment.

If what is alleged is true, Meyer could be gone by the end of the week, certainly before the season starts.

Is that fair?

I don’t know.

Is a one-year suspension enough?

I don’t think so.

If the allegations against Meyer are true, the only option for Ohio State is to terminate his contract.

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FILE – In this March 8, 2016, file photo, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer watches NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. Of all the holes hes got to fill in Ohio States starting lineup this fall, Meyer recently has talked about the offensive and defensive lines as being the most critical areas of concern. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2018/08/web1_Meyer-Urban-1.jpgFILE – In this March 8, 2016, file photo, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer watches NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. Of all the holes hes got to fill in Ohio States starting lineup this fall, Meyer recently has talked about the offensive and defensive lines as being the most critical areas of concern. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)