Urban Meyer deserves a harsher punishment for ignoring allegations

Ben Borrok, Contributing Writer

It is no surprise that a school with a football team valued at $1 billion would go to extreme lengths to ensure its team’s success. So, should we be surprised when Ohio State University announced that they would only suspend head coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season for ignoring domestic abuse violations against assistant coach Zach Smith?

Meyer protected Smith’s job for years, showing a clear disregard for the well-being of his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Courtney released text messages from 2015 that she traded with Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, concerning Smith’s employment. Shelley said she would pass the information over to Meyer so he could take the proper steps to rid his football program of trouble. It is unclear if Meyer ever received these messages, as his phone was set to only contain text conversations from the past year. However, there is a possibility that Meyer deleted the texts to protect himself from punishment. If this is the case, Meyer would face significant legal trouble, as his actions violate the state’s open records law.

Since Ohio State does not want to damage their football program in any way, they did not further investigate the issue and gave a punishment that gives the illusion of justice.

The fact of the matter is that Meyer, as a university employee, should look out for the well-being of his students and staff. As a football coach, he is meant to be a figure whom players can trust and admire.

In an era where sexual and domestic abuse allegations dominate the news, what kind of lesson does Mr. Meyer teach by protecting an abuser? Forget football for a second and think, is this the type of individual that Ohio State wants to endorse? I am sure that during the disciplinary meeting, true justice was not on the university’s agenda. Meyer did not display leadership in this situation; he put a woman in danger due to his ignorance and deserves a greater punishment. Ohio State had the opportunity to set itself apart from the mishandling of similar accusations by professional teams and could have set an appropriate example on how to respond when employees break the rules. The outrage that followed the original one-game suspension handed to professional kicker Josh Brown, also accused of domestic violence, by the New York Giants should have been a sign to Ohio State that domestic abuse is not something that can be brushed aside. If a larger NCAA investigation occurs, Ohio State should hope their high football revenue makes this all worth it.

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