In the end, Urban Meyer survived because he’s good at his job. That’s it.
The Ohio State head football coach was suspended for three games Wednesday for his handlings of domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Meyer lied at Big Ten Media Days about his knowledge of the situation, and he showed zero contrition Wednesday in a press conference announcing the suspension.
Meyer couldn’t even be troubled to apologize to Courtney Smith, who sent Meyer’s wife text messages showing the bruises she said Zach Smith had inflicted on her.
Instead, Meyer apologized for the situation “we’re in.”
Yes, we should all weep for Urban Meyer. How dare we inconvenience the King of Columbus?
Meyer is a fantastic football coach and that’s why he’s still employed. Almost anything can be swept under the rug in the name of wins — unless you’re a student-athlete who wants to make a couple dollars by selling your team-issued gear. That’s a no-no.
The 23-page investigation that was released following the news conference found that they believe Meyer lied to them about his role in helping clean up Smith’s 2009 arrest. They also believe he lied about talking to his wife in 2015 about the abuse allegations.
After Brett McMurphy’s report dropped Aug. 1, Meyer and director of football operations Ben Voltolini “discussed at that time whether the media could get access to Coach Meyer’s phone, and specifically discussed how to adjust the settings on Meyer’s phone so that text messages older than one year would be deleted.” When he turned over his phone to the investigation, there were no messages older than a year.
The report also states that they believe Meyer didn’t lie initially because: “Meyer has sometimes had significant memory issues in other situations where he had prior extensive knowledge of events. He has also periodically taken medicine that can negatively impair his memory, concentration & focus,” which seems like a hell of a problem for a coach with a 73-8 record at OSU to have, but that’s their defense.
During the news conference, Meyer appeared annoyed and put out by the fact that he even had to explain himself and accept a suspension. He clearly doesn’t get it, and probably never will. Meyer always has seen himself as the arbiter of second chances. A higher-than-thou leader of men who preaches taking the high road but never seems to walk that path himself.
Meyer had 31 players arrested during his tenure at Florida, but he and he alone could give them a second chance and turn their lives around, no matter how egregious their actions. Their second chances, like Meyer’s, came because they were good on the gridiron, not because they showed a desire to be a better person.
The three-time national champion was seen clearly Wednesday for the sanctimonious fraud he’s always been, and Ohio State looked like a joke in letting him off with a slap on the wrist. One of the biggest college football programs in the country admitted that they couldn’t do it without Meyer. They ignored the findings of a $500,000 investigation that likely would have ended with almost anyone else losing their job. They admitted they don’t care about domestic violence or lying, as long as it ends with a bigger paycheck when Meyer takes home another conference title.
And despite getting away almost scot-free, he couldn’t even be bothered to apologize to the woman who allegedly had her kids cling to her while Smith slammed her against the wall of their apartment. No apology for not taking her allegations more seriously. No apology for everything she’s been through. He couldn’t even take the time to read over his statement and act like he understood that what he did was wrong.
He just sat there and sulked, like a teenager who didn’t understand why he was being grounded.
Meyer didn’t take the high road he’s always preached to young men that he leads. Instead, he played the victim and revealed his true, cowardly self in the process.
Thumbnail photo via Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports Images