Ohio State’s investigation confirmed that Urban Meyer was not being truthful at Big Ten Media Day about his knowledge of the 2015 allegations Zach Smith was facing. But their reason for believing Meyer’s lies was beyond lame.
One of the major questions the investigation sought to answer was whether Meyer knew about the 2015 domestic violence allegation Smith faced from his ex-wife Courtney. The investigation made it clear that Meyer had deep knowledge of the investigation.
From the investigation:
(d) From October 2015 through 2016, a long-term investigation by the Powell Police Department and the Delaware County prosecutor of Zach Smith for possible domestic violence and cyber offenses against Courtney Smith.
(i) In October 2015, Miechelle Willis, then the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the Athletics Department, received information from the Ohio State Campus Police about the Powell Police investigation; Willis immediately notified AD
Smith, who in turn notified Coach Meyer during a football practice that Zach Smith was under investigation for domestic violence and could be arrested at any time. AD Gene Smith recalls Coach Meyer having an immediate and strong negative reaction to this news;
(ii) AD Gene Smith directed Zach Smith to return immediately from a recruiting trip, and Coach Meyer, AD Gene Smith and others met with Zach Smith a number of times to discuss the issue and ongoing investigation. Zach Smith denied any domestic violence, and Coach Meyer told him that if “you hit her, you are fired.” AD Gene Smith also told Zach Smith that if charges were filed, he would be fired
Despite Meyer having an “immediate and strong reaction” to the news of the 2015 investigation, and despite matters being so serious that Meyer and AD Gene Smith met with Smith frequently, Meyer said at Media Day he had no knowledge of a 2015 incident.
Here are his comments:
The investigation report says they can’t understand Meyer’s response at Big Ten Media Day:
“We cannot logically square Coach Meyer’s responses on Big Ten Media Days broadly denying knowledge of the 2015 events regarding Zach Smith with his extensive knowledge of those events in 2015 and the evident knowledge of AD Gene Smith of the 2015 events reflected in the group text message of July 23 and July 24, 2018 sent to Coach Meyer,” the investigation report says.
So what is the excuse? They say maybe Meyer’s denial concerned a false report about a 2015 felony arrest Smith was facing. But the much larger concern is that they seem to be buying a lame excuse that Meyer sometimes has memory issues due to medication.
“We also learned during the investigation that Coach 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, and focus. All of these factors also need to be considered and weighed in assessing Coach Meyer’s mindset on July 24th.”
Is anyone actually buying the excuse that medication gave Meyer memory issues and that’s what led to his denials at Big Ten Media Days? Surely not even Ohio State fans can buy that. Still, that didn’t stop Ohio State from concluding that Meyer did not deliberately lie.