Ohio State Writer: Urban Meyer Suspension "Certainly Justified"

Bill Rabinowitz found Meyer's decision to delete old text messages "suspicious, to say the least"

The DA Show
October 30, 2018 - 8:15 am

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Ohio State has suspended Urban Meyer for three games for his handling of domestic-violence accusations levied against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

Some felt that Meyer should have been fired, while others felt he should have been reinstated immediately. In the end, OSU did neither. 

“I think there was legitimate fear that he would be fired,” Columbus Dispatch Buckeyes beat writer Bill Rabinowitz told Chris Moore, who was filling in as host of The DA Show. “I think that was probably a minority opinion. I think most people thought that was a long-shot. But who knew what the committee knew? There was definitely a fear of what the other shoe might be, the unknown shoe. But there are also others who think that Urban Meyer did everything he was supposed to do in terms of protocol and should have gotten nothing. 

“I think that when you release the 23-page report, I think that a suspension is certainly justified,” Rabinowitz continued. “When you see some of the things in there, even if you accept the idea that Zach Smith never laid a finger on Courtney Smith – and I’m not judging that one way or another – the other things involving Zach Smith were fireable things.”

Smith committed a host of improprieties, including a reported affair with an OSU staffer.

“It’s hard to imagine Urban tolerating anything close to that from any other assistant coach,” Rabinowitz said. “But because it was Earle Bruce’s grandson and Earle was still alive at the time, I think he just thought, ‘Well, we’ll just muddle through.’ And that was a mistake.”

Meyer also curiously deleted old text messages.

“I think the one that I certainly want to ask questions about was deleting the text messages from the phone, re-programming the phone so that it would automatically delete text messages older than a year,” Rabinowitz said. “The Lantern, the campus newspaper, had requested those texts, and the timing is suspicious, to say the least, that all of a sudden the phone would be changed that way. Now there are legitimate reasons to do that setting because of storage reasons, but the timing of it, there are reasons for people to kind of be go, ‘Hmm, suspicious.’”

Rabinowitz contacted Ohio State about this matter and expressed a desire to question Meyer, Gene Smith and Michael Drake.

“I’ve not gotten a response yet,” Rabinowitz said, “and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who was asked that question. Whether that will happen, I don’t know. But yesterday was crazy. You’re there for 12 hours – I got there before 9 o’clock (in the morning), and the press conference wasn’t until 9 o’clock (at night). It was just crazy. Being a newspaper writer, we had quick deadlines. There were a lot of things I would have liked to have more time to kind of reflect on before I had to write, but that’s just not the way it works.”

Ultimately, Rabinowitz isn’t sure what to make of this incident – or Courtney Smith.

“I’m very sensitive toward domestic violence,” he said. “I’m married, I have a daughter, I have three sisters – I’m very careful about that. But I wouldn’t take allegations or accusations as being fact. I’m not saying they’re true; I’m not saying they’re not true – and too many people are saying, ‘It’s absolutely true.’ There was the Duke lacrosse situation. So you kind of have these two competing things. You have the Me Too movement, which is long overdue and an important development, but there also is the memory of the Duke lacrosse thing. An accusation is not a conviction, and it should be remembered that Zach Smith has not been charged for any of the alleged incidents. That should mean something. I’m not saying that it happened or that it didn’t happen. But people should not assume that it did just because there was an allegation.”