In the wake of Ohio State’s announcement that the investigation into Urban Meyer’s conduct will conclude within 14 days, more than 100 Buckeye fans gathered Monday to protest the suspension of the title-winning coach.
Meyer was put on administrative leave last week after a report surfaced containing text messages that suggested Meyer was aware of 2015 domestic violence allegations against former Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith. Meyer, in his seventh season at Ohio State after winning two national championships at Florida, denied he knew of the alleged incident in which Smith’s wife, Courtney, accused him of physically abusing her, episodes she said occurred repeatedly in their home.
Smith was ultimately fired last month. Still, Ohio State supporters are having none of the Meyer criticism.
A small but passionate group gathered outside Ohio Stadium on Monday afternoon, brandishing signs of support for their coach and also disdain for the media.
One sign read, “ESPN = Fake News,” even though the reporter who broke the story, Brett McMurphy, had been laid off by the network beforehand. Another one mocked the #MeToo movement, saying, “Me Too! I support Urban Meyer & the Bucks.”
Others stand on the opposite side of the Meyer spectrum, such as ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum, who blasted Meyer after the recent reports.
“When we’re talking about arrogance, that seems to go hand in hand with Urban Meyer,” Finebaum said on “First Take” last week. “I have always liked him personally. I respect his coaching ability, but you can’t look past the University of Florida. He left a disaster down there. Yeah, he won two national championships thanks to Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin and countless other players who have been in the NFL since then, but left his entire legacy in burned ashes.”
Finebaum also said that he expected Meyer to be fired upon reading the initial report.
The investigation into whether Meyer failed to report Smith’s alleged behavior is being led by an independent group that includes former politicians and current board of trustees members at the school. Mary Jo White, the former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and head investigator on the team, has previously worked on NFL cases, most recently the investigation into workplace misconduct by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
Ohio State president Michael V. Drake, in consultation with the board of trustees, will decide on actions of the case based on the investigation’s findings.
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