Randy Smith: Urban's Big Dilemma

Friday, August 3, 2018 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer is in one heck of a mess right now. Coach Meyer has been placed on leave while the university investigates claims that he failed to report domestic assault charges against assistant coach Zach Smith. A committee has been put in place to handle the investigation, which could lead to a shocking coaching change at one of college football's most storied programs. It's that serious.

The entire situation is very similar to the disgusting scene at Penn State several years ago. Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno was removed from his position simply because he failed to act when allegations of sexual abuse by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky were presented.
You might say, " This isn't the same thing and it only involves one victim." It is the same thing. Paterno failed to act to protect those victims, and Urban Meyer allegedly failed to act to protect a victim of domestic abuse. It's that simple.

Coach Meyer has been known as an extremely loyal person when it comes to his coaching staff. That in itself is very honorable, but only if it has limits. Failure to act to end the suffering of a battered woman is just as wrong as anything I can think of, no matter how many victims are involved. Now, there is always the possibility that Meyer is telling the truth when he said he was not informed of the situation until a few days ago. Courtney Smith, the victim and ex-wife of Coach Zach Smith has stated that she told Meyer's wife Shelley and other coach's wives about the charges. That of course puts the ball in Mrs. Meyer's court because if she told her husband about the most recent charges, (from 2015) then Urban Meyer should indeed be removed from his job at Ohio State. After all, it's on record that Meyer knew about earlier charges when the coaches were at Florida in 2009. 

Because of the Penn State situation every college football program in the country is under the microscope for doing the right thing, and that's the way it should be. Football is a wonderful game, but it's just that; a game. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on college football every year but no amount of money is worth a human being suffering from the acts of a domestic abuser or a sexual predator. Urban Meyer and all the other head coaches in the country have the responsibility of making sure their staff members do not cross one of many lines in society. When they do cross one of those lines, action must be swift and thorough. 

There will be nothing at all swift and thorough about the investigation at Ohio State. Supposedly, the university placing Coach Meyer on leave while the probe is being conducted was done to help move things along, but that remains to be seen. The process should be pretty simple-did Meyer know about the most recent charges of domestic assault?  If he did put him on the road, hire a new head coach and move forward. Telling the truth is something that should be paramount for any person in authority, whether it be coaches or politicians. Believe it or not.        

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com



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