It’s official — Urban Meyer has Ohio State wrapped around his finger.
That’s what Wednesday’s 12-hour fiasco in Columbus proved. That waiting game concluded with a press conference in which we learned that the Ohio State coach was suspended for 3 games.
You’ll notice that I said “the Ohio State coach” and not “the ex-Ohio State coach,” as he should have been. But instead, Ohio State did whatever it could to cover up for Meyer, who covered up for Zach Smith. You know, the guy who was fired for repeated domestic violence allegations.
How do I know that? Well, because I heard it loud and clear from the head of the investigative team, Mary Jo White.
At that disaster of a press conference, she claimed that Meyer did not “deliberately lie” at B1G Media Media Days when he said that he didn’t find out about Smith’s 2015 allegation until the night before he spoke in Chicago.
Meyer didn’t “deliberately lie?” So when he released a statement via Twitter days after he was put on administrative leave, and he admitted he wasn’t truthful about his knowledge of the 2015 incident, what was that? That was Meyer admitting he lied and Brett McMurphy’s report proved it.
But the investigative team found that Meyer didn’t “deliberately” lie. In other words, they tried to say it was an accident that Meyer provided false information when asked about Smith 9 times at B1G Media Days. Meyer was then “accidentally lying,” according to what White said.
I’d love to know how one accidentally lies 9 times and then releases a statement admitting to be purposefully untruthful … only to have an investigative team find that it wasn’t “deliberate.”
Actually, I know the answer to that question. Ohio State is how that happens. Meyer is how that happens. Winning a national title and going 47-3 against the Big Ten is how that happens. Stepping in for a 6-win program and instantly turning it into one of the nation’s best in Year 1 is how that happens.
There’s a reason that after Meyer’s original statement, public opinion went from thinking he had coached his last game at Ohio State to Ohio State is going to do whatever it can to keep him. The university would take the public relations hit even if it meant saying ridiculous things like Meyer didn’t “deliberately” lie.
The university had to know that it was going to get roasted for any outcome that wasn’t terminating Meyer. That’s exactly what happened.
White should have basically come out and said “we absolutely didn’t want to fire Meyer, and we hope this 3-game suspension makes everyone forget that he protected an admitted domestic abuser on his staff and then lied about it to the world, and tried to bully a reporter for discovering that information.”
The sick thing is that Meyer called this “a learning experience” for him. What did he learn? How to win enough games to keep his job? Certainly Meyer didn’t learn anything about showing remorse to domestic violence victims or else he wouldn’t have responded the way he did when asked if he had anything to say to Courtney Smith. Meyer and Ohio State officials apologized to Buckeye Nation multiple times.
What did Meyer have to say to Courtney Smith?
Urban on what he’d say to Courtney Smith: “I’m sorry we’re in this situation.” WTF?
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 23, 2018
Meyer might as well walk into the Ohio State locker room and tear down the sign with the program’s core values that reads “Treat Women With Respect.”
At this point, does Ohio State even care what kind of core values Meyer is preaching? Again, they covered up for Meyer admittedly lying about knowledge of an admitted domestic abuser — something Zach Smith admitted in text messages to Courtney Smith — in order to justify not firing him.
What a joke.
That’s what Wednesday night’s press conference felt like. One big joke. It was a tone deaf, awful look for the university that’ll have a lasting impact.
This was never about showing remorse to the proper people. Buckeye Nation doesn’t deserve an apology.
This was about a university going to great lengths to protect Meyer after he wrongly protected the grandson of his mentor Earle Bruce. Meyer said that “he could’ve done more” to find out about Zach Smith’s past. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who was suspended as well, echoed that sentiment.
Meyer did know enough about Zach Smith’s past, though. And he can say all he wants that he wasn’t aware of his wife’s text messages with Courtney Smith, but it doesn’t change what Meyer did. That is, have Zach Smith on his staff longer than anyone at Ohio State, despite the fact that he admittedly knew about his 2009 domestic violence arrest.
But hey, in 3 games, Ohio State can pretend this never happened. When Meyer’s suspension is done, he’ll still be back in plenty of time to lead the program to a Playoff push and inevitably make the university tens of millions of dollars by filling up Ohio Stadium every week.
If Buckeye fans are still unwilling to see the admitted errors in Meyer’s actions — many are based on my mentions — then there’s nothing I can do to save them. Meyer’s got them wrapped around his finger, too. He tricked them into thinking that all he was guilty of was lying to the media, and that using the shield that is THEE Ohio State University to cover up for Zach Smith isn’t a deeply concerning course of action.
There are a whole lot of people who Meyer didn’t fool, though. Something tells me they’re done letting Meyer preach about how much he’s changed since he was at Florida. He instead just found a new program to cover up for his actions.
And clearly, that program is at his mercy.