Less than a day after the publication of Brett McMurphy’s piece suggesting Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley knew about assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic abuse of his wife Courtney, which included texts from Courtney Smith to Shelley Meyer, Urban Meyer has now been placed on paid administrative leave by the school while the university conducts an investigation. Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is stepping in as acting head coach.
Here are the statements sent out Wednesday evening from the university and Meyer, which follows an afternoon meeting between Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith:
Urban Meyer going on paid administrative leave. OSU statement below: pic.twitter.com/asxEiUjF7I
— Matt Barnes (@Matt_NBC4) August 1, 2018
Meanwhile, after waiting almost four hours to initially cover the story (and then misidentifying McMurphy as still working for ESPN in one on-air update), ESPN is now doing a full-court press, including reporters and analysts doing live hits from Ohio State’s campus:
Now on @SportsCenter live from Ohio State, @DanMurphyESPN discussing latest Urban Meyer development with the coach placed on administrative leave. Continuing coverage with Trevor Matich joining @kevconnorsespn
— David Scott (@ESPNprDScott) August 1, 2018
— Molly Mita (@mollymita_ESPN) August 1, 2018
We’ll see how this investigation goes and what comes of it, but the texts in particular don’t seem to bode well for Meyer, especially as he adamantly declared at Big Ten Media Days last week (which came after last Monday’s firing of Smith after records of his alleged abuse emerged) that he didn’t know about the 2015 allegations.
“I got a text late (Monday) night (about a report) something happened in 2015. And there was nothing. Once again, there’s nothing – once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that.”
Maybe the investigation will show that Shelley Meyer never did tell her husband, or that any of the other coaches’ wives who knew about this didn’t pass that information on to Meyer. But his denials aren’t looking good in retrospect, and there’s a whole lot of uncertainty about his future. In fact, some books even have his being fired as the favorite:
Will Urban Meyer be fired as head coach of the Ohio State football team before Game 1 of the 2018 season?
Odds via @betmybookie
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) August 1, 2018
Another book is more favorable to Meyer remaining (at least through September 1), but is offering an extensive list of potential replacements:
— Daniel Roberts (@readDanwrite) August 1, 2018
There’s going to be a whole lot of discussion around this investigation and its potential implications over the next while, and it could definitely lead to major changes at Ohio State. We’ll see what comes of it.