Ohio State University Places Football Coach Urban Meyer On Paid Leave

OSU head football coach Urban Meyer at a Fiesta Bowl press conference in Dec. 2016 [The Ohio State University]
OSU head football coach Urban Meyer at a Fiesta Bowl press conference in Dec. 2016 [The Ohio State University]
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By Clare Roth, Mike Thompson and Gabe Rosenberg, WOSU

Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer is on paid leave. The school is looking into what Meyer knew about 2015 domestic violence allegations against a former coach. 

Ohio State fired receivers coach Zack Smith after his ex-wife Courtney Smith filed a civil protection order against him. Police investigated alleged domestic violence involving Smith in 2015, but no charges were filed. When he fired Smith, Meyer said he was not aware of any claim made in 2015. Now, comments by the assistant coach's ex-wife are calling that into question.

Courtney Smith tells Stadium TV she confided in Urban Meyer's wife Shelly, back in 2015, and that Shelly said at the time she would tell Meyer about the abuse. In a statement, head coach Meyer says he agrees that "being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion".

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will coach the Buckeyes on an interim basis. Ohio State's first game is September 1 against Oregon State in Columbus.

Meyers could be fired "with cause"

Meyer is heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, with a record of 73-8, a national title and two Big Ten Conference championships. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and is employed as an instructor at Ohio State.

According to the Associated Press, both Meyers and his wife could be in violation of Title IX policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence against university employees. That means Ohio State could fire Meyer with cause, according to provisions in his two-year contract extension, which was approved in April.

Meyer's total salary for the 2018 season is $7.6 million, making him the highest paid coach in the Big Ten and third-highest-paid nationally. In 2017, Meyer was the second-highest-paid employee at Ohio State.

Meyer was hired in November 2011 to replace former head coach Jim Tressel, who was fired for lying to the NCAA and university about rules violations committed by some of his players.

Copyright 2018 WOSU. To see more, visit WOSU.

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