Keeping Urbz In The Crosshairs
He’s Supposed To Be A Detective, Also?
Urban Meyer’s statement and former assistant coach Zach Smith’s corroborating interview, on Friday, that Meyer knew and properly reported domestic abuse allegations leveled against Smith, pretty much blew up the crux of the article, where these allegations were made. I’m not going to go into depth about the article, because we’ve been over and over it. But, as a quick reminder, longtime college football “insider” Brett McMurphy published an article where Courtney Smith made allegations of domestic abuse against her ex-husband Zach Smith, which he has denied, and claimed Urban Meyer knew, but failed to act. McMurphy offers up texts between Courtney Smith and Shelley Meyer, the wife of Urban, and the wife of another person within the Ohio State football program as “proof” Urban Meyer was aware of the alleged incidents. McMurphy is now being accused of changing his story numerous times. Hopefully there will be more information on this in the coming days,
Now that McMurphy’s story has pretty much been reduced to rubble, there are still those who believe Meyer should have done more to investigate, after he and Ohio State AD Gene Smith learned of the 2015 allegations. First of all Urban Meyer is not a detective. Expecting him to conduct an investigation into allegations, which were denied by Zach Smith, is ridiculous. Secondly, once his superiors are aware, it is out of his hands, according to Title IX guidelines. But, since some are so vehement about their belief he should have investigated more, let’s take a look at that. The Powell Police Department filed nine reports from October 2015 to December 2017. Not one of those incidents resulted in an arrest. Most likely because both Zach and Courtney Smith each told a different version of the story (which is common in domestic disputes). So, without any eyewitnesses, or “real” evidence implicating one person or the other, they decide to not make an arrest. Now, what I’d like to know is, how is Urban Meyer’s investigation of this going to turn up anything different than the Powell Police? If he does do an investigation, just how extensive is it supposed to be and how long should it last? A week? Month? Oh, by the way, he has a football program to coach and recruit for, but that’s ok, he can spend a month looking into a he said/she said domestic dispute. Give me a break. No employer anywhere needs or wants to be investigating their employee’s marital affairs.
If you’re still one of those, who thinks Urban Meyer, or any employer, for that matter, is responsible for mediating the marital issues of his staff, a federal judge begs to differ. In 2016, after University of Colorado assistant coach Joe Tumpkin resigned over domestic abuse allegations, the victim filed a lawsuit in federal court. She claimed the university did not do enough to address her allegations. The judge dismissed the case and said, “Tumpkin could have engaged in the exact same conduct regardless of his affiliation with the university.” He went on to say the University of Colorado “provided neither access nor cover for Tumpkin’s alleged conduct.” It doesn’t matter if Zach Smith was on Meyer’s coaching staff or not, he and his wife were still going to have issues.
I firmly believe it was a mistake for Meyer to include Zach Smith on his staff when he took over the Buckeyes. But, Meyer has tremendous respect for and loyalty to Smith’s grandfather Earle Bruce, who gave Meyer his first coaching job. I, also, understand wanting to give Smith a second chance after the 2009 incident in Florida. Regardless, I think Meyer took a risk having Smith on his staff.
Where Are We Now?
A “special, independent board working group” has been appointed, by the Board of Trustees, to lead the investigation of Urban Meyer. For those in the tin hat conspiracy crowd, who think this will be an “inside job” and Meyer’s exoneration is all but a done deal, the working group is made up of three members of the Board of Trustees and three people not affiliated with the university. Sunday night the school released a statement saying they expect the investigation to be completed within 14 days. University president Michael Drake will consult with the Board of Trustees in making the final decision on the findings of the investigation.
In my opinion, Brett McMurphy is now stuck in the middle of a domestic battle. The focal point of his article was Urban Meyer knew of abuse allegations and did nothing. With Meyer and Zach Smith each contradicting the claim in the article, this, at least for now, is a domestic dispute between a divorced couple. I could care less how many screenshots of supposed text messages, between the couple, McMurphy puts on Twitter, because they have nothing to do with Urban Meyer and the article’s original claim. This is why I think it is time for me to get back to writing about football. That’s what I’ll be doing, until there is new information pertaining directly to Meyer’s knowledge of the situation, or the results of the investigation are released.
Since the release of McMurphy’s article, far too many have wanted Ohio State to fire Meyer immediately. Look gang, those people heard one side of the story, took Courtney Smith’s word as gospel and could care less about the other side. This includes the usual amount of haters and trolls, but, it includes far too many in the media, both print and broadcast. The Detroit Free Press called for his immediate firing (I know, shocker, right?), some writers at Yahoo! Sports have been downright brutal and so has Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd. So, my advice to you is don’t bother reading or listening to these people. Their intent is to support only one side of the story.
Don’t get into an online argument with haters and trolls, because it isn’t worth it. One of the things I learned in all my years in TV news is people believe what they want to believe and they want the news reported in a way that reflects those beliefs. The haters and trolls firmly believe Meyer did nothing/covered up/enabled Zach Smith and should be fired immediately. Don’t waste your breath on them, they’re not worth it.
If you notice, I refer to allegations from October 2015 to December 2017 as “alleged allegations.” I know in this day and age of the “frontier justice” of the #MeToo movement, once someone is accused there is a large segment of our population, who immediately believes the accuser and acts as judge, jury and executioner for the accused. I think that’s crap. Remember, I spent a very long time in TV news, where something is alleged to have happened until there is concrete proof. Right now we have nine police reports with no arrests, and two people telling different versions of the “truth.” Sorry, but until further evidence emerges, or something is decided in court, I will refer to the allegations during that time period as “alleged.”
Time to get back to talking about football.