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Opposing Viewpoints: Did Urban Meyer Get a Fair Deal?


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Rebekah Incensse

After a two-week investigation for the negligent handling of the domestic violence claims made against former assistant coach Zach Smith, Ohio State suspended coach Urban Meyer for the first three games of the season.

Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, had made allegations against Smith of assault that started in 2009. Meyer did not take action after hearing the claims in 2015 and stayed silent because of lack of information.  

Did Meyer get a fair deal missing three games? Yes. Even though he did not do anything legally wrong, he dismissed the domestic violence that Courtney Smith claimed. He did not do his duty as a head coach, let alone a good human being by reporting the suspicions.

Meyer also kept changing his story when he was investigated. He initially denyed having any previous knowledge of the abuse and then later said that he did in fact know about it. He wanted to keep his assistant coach, who was also his mentor’s grandson. Dismissing the assualt was the wrong decision and he is now paying the price.  

But was his punishment enough?  

If Ohio State wanted to suspend Meyer, then they should have had him suspended for the entire football season. He is currently on paid administrative leave, which is not fair if he is suspended. Paying on a suspension is like getting a smack on the wrist. One does not have a long punishment and can go back to what they were doing before. Let alone the fact that it is hard to learn from a mistake when the punishment is so light.

Suspending Meyer for three games does not punish him enough, even though he did end up apologize for not speaking.

OSU let him off easy. He should have gotten a punishment like head coach Joe Paterno at Penn State. After covering up the child molestations from his assistant coach, Paterno was fired and his reputation destroyed. Paterno and other administrators knew about the child abuse but covered up the scandal for years and did not report it to the authorities.  

What Meyer did was the same thing. He did not take the claims seriously and chose to not report the violence. Meyer may not have assisted in the crime or can be legally charged with anything, but there should be a bigger punishment for people who do not speak up about a crime and dismiss the harassment allegations. Especially someone who has a high power position like head football coach.

Meyer wanted to protect Smith more than he wanted to do the right thing by reporting the domestic abuse.

He should be punished way more than a three day suspension. That small amount of time punishment shows that Ohio State is trying to protect themselves from more scandal.


Athena Pajer

Urban Meyer has been Punished Enough

In 2013, OSU Running Back Carlos Hyde raised his arm at a woman in a nightclub. Though he never hit the woman, Urban Meyer did not need to know the conclusion. Meyer suspended Hyde for three games.  

For many, this seemed like a harsh punishment, but female OSU fans breathed a sigh of relief that violence towards women would not be tolerated.

Five years later, Meyer is suspended for three games following an investigation into co-coach Zach Smith’s Domestic Abuse charges.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Meyer fired Smith on July 23 after Smith broke a restraining order against his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Shortly after on August 1, Courtney announced that Zach Smith had been physically abusive for years.  

Since then, people have begun to speculate that Meyer knew about issues leading up to this straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back charge but lied, letting Zach Smith keep his job.  

The problem boils down to this: Urban Meyer did not fire Zach Smith earlier. He let the situation get out of control.

The affair itself is like an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Zach Smith, a wealthy coach with a troubling track record of infidelity and drinking problems, according to Courtney in her interview with Stadium, began by abusing her emotionally and then it escalated to physical abuse.  

In addition, Zach Smith is the grandson of Earle Bruce, former OSU coach and Meyer’s good friend. Meyer admits that his loyalty to Bruce caused him to neglect red flags in Zach and Courtney’s relationship. Meyer also knew about Zach Smith’s bad behavior, but we don’t know if he knew about the physical violence.

Even he agrees that he should not have let his emotional attachment to Bruce cloud his judgement. However, there is not much more that he could have done than fire Zach Smith when he did.

If the police got involved on multiple occasions on charges of domestic abuse and did not arrest Smith or call Meyer to act as a witness, he could do little more than fire Zach Smith.  

Zach Smith, the real cause of the problem, is punished, but now we are wondering how the punishment would be for Meyer. Is three games’ suspension enough?

Yes. It’s a proper punishment for Urban Meyer who, like Carlos Hyde, put himself in a situation that did not hold true to Buckeye Core Values. For Zach Smith, he deserves to be lose his job and go to court.


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Opposing Viewpoints: Did Urban Meyer Get a Fair Deal?