Did he or didn’t he know?
Athletics at The Ohio State University have taken a big hit this summer.
It began with the allegations of sexual misconduct against a former sports doctor, who reportedly took his own life a number of years ago.
Now, Urban Meyer, the school’s iconic football coach, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the school conducts an investigation into what he may or may not have known about the domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer fired Smith last week when the allegations came to light, saying that the dismissal was in the best interest of the program.
Just last evening, however, media outlets erupted with news that Meyer reportedly knew about the allegations before the case became public knowledge. There are also allegations that his wife, Shelley, and even wives of other Buckeye assistant coaches knew about the alleged violence through text messages with Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney.
Did he (Meyer) or didn’t he know?
That’s the $64,000 question and we basically don’t know at this point.
There are several things that must be done in this matter.
First and foremost is that the truth must be determined and this case must be fully resolved, no matter what that truth may be.
If the allegations are true, the proper punishment must be administered to all involved as there is never, never any excuse for domestic violence.
There is also no excuse for condoning or brushing aside any such abuse.
If it is true that Meyer had prior knowledge and swept it under the rug, he could be found in violation of Title IX stipulations in his contract.
That would be grounds for dismissal.
Secondly, Meyer must be afforded due process, which is guaranteed under the United States Constitution. He is to be considered innocent unless it is proven that he had prior knowledge of the alleged violence and then lied about it last week during the annual Big Ten Media Days.
Will Meyer lose his job over this situation?
That remains to be seen, pending the outcome of the school’s investigation.
However, his integrity is certainly coming into question.
There are actually several questions that need to be answered, such as:
-Again, what did he know?
-When did he find out about the allegations?
-If he did know, why didn’t he take earlier action?
It’s no secret that Smith’s grandfather, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, was a mentor to Meyer when the latter served on Bruce’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant back in the 1980s.
Was Meyer trying to protect the reputation of Bruce and his family? Again, I don’t know.
The allegations came to the forefront just a few months after Bruce died.
The timing of Meyer’s leave couldn’t come at a worse time from a football perspective as the team reports for preseason practice on Friday.
The Ohio State University, however, had to take this step until the truth can be determined.
What this does in the long run to the school, team and Meyer is anyone’s guess at this point.
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