Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer Should Have Known About Zach Smith's Alleged Abuse

If Urban Meyer knew about Zach Smith's alleged abuse and did nothing, it's bad. And if he didn't know, well, that's bad, too

Taz and the Moose
October 30, 2018 - 9:30 am

USA Today Images

Urban Meyer is one of the most successful coaches in college football. He’s won three national titles and is 73-8 in six season at Ohio State.

For now, though, none of that matters.

Meyer has been placed on administrative leave as Ohio State investigates what he knew – or didn’t know – about domestic-violence allegations levied against former assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015. 

“It seems implausible that Urban Meyer didn’t know about the 2015 stuff, but it’s just another example of how sports and college athletics (have) become too big too fail,” CBSSports.com college football writer Dennis Dodd said on Taz & The Moose. “Why put your career on the line? There’s an old tenet in coaching that says never hire your friends. Well, never hire your friend’s grandson.”

Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach Earl Bruce, who gave Meyer his start in college coaching.

“(Smith is) a receivers coach, and look where it got him,” Dodd said of Meyer. “Urban Meyer wouldn't be the only one to look the other way in domestic abuse, but my takeaway is it shines a needed light on something that’s lurked in the shadows for obviously years. . . . If it takes down Urban Meyer, it really is sad on his part. Because we’re talking about not only one of the greatest of this age, but maybe one of the greatest of all time.”

Meyer appears to be in a no-win situation: If he knew about Smith’s alleged abuse, why didn’t he fire him? If he didn’t know about Smith’s alleged abuse – when so many coaches’ wives reportedly did – how can he claim with any credibility that he has control over his program?

“If you didn’t know, well, you’re responsible – because you should have known,” Dodd said. “You’re the head of the entire enterprise. You can’t cherry-pick and say you know everything about a recruit right down his grade point average and parents and everything else – and not know something about this? I think that’s the takeaway. How do you come back and go into a recruit’s home and try to convince a mother that you should be the guy to take care of his son? That’s what this boils down to if he comes back.”

Dodd trusts that Ohio State will investigate these allegations to the fullest extent.

“This is the school that fired Jim Tressel, so they have done this,” Dodd said. “I have to think they are dead serious in investigating this. . . . I think we’ll have a resolution one way or another by the opener.”

Ohio State opens against Oregon State on Sept. 1.