In the midst of Ohio State's investigation into whether or not head coach Urban Meyer was aware of alleged domestic violence by former assistant Zach Smith, fans of the Buckeyes have gathered to host a rally for Meyer, who is currently on paid administrative leave.
Meyer said he handled proper reporting protocol for the incident in a statement he released Friday, that also addressed when he lied at Big Ten media day about his knowledge of the situation. Smith said in interviews on Friday that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was aware of the alleged assault back in 2015, and vouched that Meyer should not be punished for this.
According to Jackie Orozco of ABC 6 Columbus, the rally was organized by Jeff Hamms, an Ohio State fan from Myrtle Beach, S.C. who is known to others by the nickname "Tennessee Jeff." During the rally, Tennessee Jeff told the crowd that the event was being backed by Ohio State, according to James Grega Jr. of Eleven Warriors. Fans have also started a petition to "save" Meyer that has around 25,000 signatures.
Grega also noted that Ezekiel Elliott's father, Stacy, drove from St. Louis to attend the rally in support of the coach.
Among some of the signs held by those in attendance was one that read, "FIRE ESPN! BRING BACK COACH URBAN," another that said "ME TOO! I SUPPORT: URBAN MEYER & THE BUCKS O-H-I-O" and one that stated, "INNOCENT 'TIL PROVEN GUILTY ESPN GUILTY OF ABUSE!" with "PROVEN" underlined.
Ohio State's investigation is expected to be finished within two weeks. The team's first game of the season is Sept. 1 against Oregon State.