What happens next to suspended Ohio State coach Meyer?
Question: Where does the responsibility for the personal conduct of an employee begin and end for that employee’s boss?
That question may not only seal the fate of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer but may also seal the fate of every person who has and will every have persons under their supervision in a professional capacity.
For those of you that may not have heard, Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave from the university on Wednesday as officials at Ohio State investigate whether Meyer knew about a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against one of his assistant coaches, Zach Smith, brought on by Smith’s wife Courtney.
In October 2015, Powell (Ohio) police investigated Zach Smith for domestic violence against Courtney, from whom he was separated. Zach was not charged in the incident, but Courtney told reporter Brett McMurphy this week that she informed the wives of several Ohio State coaches, including Shelley Meyer, Urban Meyer’s wife, about what happened.
Courtney Smith told McMurphy this week that she believes Urban Meyer knew about the 2015 abuse, although she never received direct confirmation that he did.
Ohio State fired Zach Smith on July 23 of this year after being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing when he was dropping off their son at Courtney’s apartment complex. Courtney said Zach violated a shared parenting plan by coming to her residence.
This was the second incident involving Smith and his wife. In June 2009, Zach Smith was arrested for aggravated battery on a pregnant victim after allegedly throwing Courtney Smith into a wall after an argument at their home in Gainesville, Fla., where Zach was working for Meyer with the University of Florida football program.
Courtney Smith dropped those charges saying Meyer’s close friend Hiram deFries and mentor Earle Bruce, the former Ohio State coach and Zach’s grandfather, encouraged her not to pursue legal action.
Meyer said last month at Big Ten media days that he knew about the 2009 incident and that he and his wife, Shelley, had reached out to Zach and Courtney and encouraged them to seek counseling. Meyer also denied knowing anything about the 2015 incident.
This is what we know so far. So the question remains, what, if any, is Meyer’s responsibility in the situation?
There are those out there that say Meyer had a moral obligation to report the 2009 incident to the proper authorities and fire Smith on the spot. These are the same people that believe it is time to right the ship of justice and fire Meyer for not only allegedly sweeping it under the rug again, but for also hiring Smith for a second time knowing what happened nine years ago.
Then there are those that believe that it was not Meyer’s place to get involved in the personal lives of his coaches. They also believe that he and his wife did as much as they could have and that until Courtney Smith wanted to get out of the abusive relationship, no one could have helped.
But, this is 2018, and abuse, domestic and sexual, has blasted to the forefront of society, which has been long over due. No one in today’s world is too big to go down for any type of abuse. Even having knowledge of an incident involving abuse and keeping it a secret is seen as taboo.
If it is proven in the investigation that Meyer knew of the 2015 incident and lied, his job is done. It may be done regardless.
Whether or not Meyer is let go by Ohio State, I truly believe Meyer had an obligation to at least let the administration know what was happening in 2009 and to let the courts determine the guilt of Zach Smith. I also believe that he had an obligation to make sure that Courtney Smith was safe from her abuser.
I understand that there is only so much that we can do in that situation, but I believe that we have a moral obligation as a society to at least try.
Just my opinion!