Ohio State Suspends Coach Urban Meyer for First Three Games of Season

Ohio State has suspended head football coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season, the school announced in a press conference Wednesday. 
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Ohio State has suspended head football coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season without pay, the school announced in a press conference Wednesday. 

The announcement comes after the Ohio State Board of Trustees held a closed meeting on Wednesday at the Longaberger Alumni House on campus to discuss their findings from their investigation into Meyer's conduct. The meeting lasted twelve hours. Meyer, his wife, Shelley, and athletic director Gene Smith were seen entering the building throughout the day.

Meyer will miss Ohio State's games against Oregon State on Sept. 1, Rutgers the following week and No. 16 TCU on Sept. 16 in Arlington, Texas.

AD Smith was also suspended without pay from Aug. 31-Sept. 16.

Ohio State said last week that president Michael V. Drake would announce his final decision on Meyer after consulting with the Ohio State Board of Trustees.

The school placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 and launched an investigation into his conduct, saying it was "getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible." The university named offensive coordinator Ryan Day the interim head coach.

Zach Smith, Meyer’s former recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, was fired on July 23, after reports surfaced that an order of protection had been filed against him by his ex-wife Courtney. Smith, 34, was investigated in 2015 for felonious assault and domestic violence against his ex-wife.

Meyer claimed on July 24 at Big Ten media days that he did not know about the domestic violence allegations against Smith in 2015, saying, “There was nothing… I don’t know who creates a story like that.”

After he was placed on leave, Meyer released a statement saying he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures.” The same day Meyer's statement was issued, Zach Smith appeared on ESPN and said athletic director Gene Smith knew about the 2015 domestic violence allegation at the time, pulling the assistant off of a recruiting trip once he heard.

Courtney Smith told Stadium that she said to Meyer's wife in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her.

"I do believe he knew, and instead he chose to help the abuser and enable the abuser and believe whatever story Zach was telling everybody," Courtney Smith told Stadium.


As a member of Meyer's staff at Florida in 2009, Zach Smith was also arrested for aggravated battery of his wife, who at the time was two months pregnant. Charges were not filed in that case.

It was reported that Ohio State gave Zach Smith a significantly smaller raise in 2015 compared to his other years on staff, and that he also had a drunk driving arrest in 2013.

Meyer signed a contract extension in April that had stipulations requiring him to report anyone who violates the school's Title IX sexual misconduct policy. He was set to make $7.6 million this season, among the highest paid coaches in the nation. The 54-year-old had a 73–8 record in his six seasons at Ohio State, where he won a national championship in 2014 and two Big Ten titles.

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that he had been put on leave, Buckeye fans launched a petition to “Save Urban Meyer” and held a rally outside of Ohio Stadium in his honor.

Meyer has spent 16 seasons as a head coach at Ohio State, Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, where he won two national championships, and has a career record of 177–31.