College football is no stranger to scandals, no matter what part of the country you’re in. Sadly it’s for all the wrong reasons. Every college football fanatic is familiar in regards to SMU’s Pony Express scandal that starred Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, USC’s money scandal that featured a vacated Heisman Trophy that once belonged to Reggie Bush, but there is a darker side to the game. A scary side. A side that is much bigger than money, much bigger than football, much bigger than the campus that the common college student walks upon as he or she walks to their English class to learn whatever literal elements Shakespeare used during his plays. I guarantee you that Shakespeare wouldn’t have any words to describe the sadistic and satanic acts that occur behind the closed doors of a major football powerhouse. The actions behind these closed doors even go beyond there and eventually go into the minds of others where the news stays locked and no initiative is taken to correct any of the wrongs. The newest story added to the mix involved Ohio State’s coach, Urban Meyer.
Recent College Football Horrors
We all remember the Jerry Sandusky scandal of 2011-12 where he was convicted of 45 counts of sexual assault, which dated back to 1994, leaving a span of 17 years of injustice. This tarnished the legacy of the all time winningest coach in college football history in Joe Paterno, who is believed to have been aware of the actions taking place at Penn State University, leading to the removing his statue outside Beaver Stadium. Right when we thought we saw the worst of it, then comes Baylor University, with then-head football coach Art Briles getting caught with the knowledge of sexual assault and harassment at the University. With over 120 reports of assault and harassment at the school from 2011-15, it makes you want to stand up and do something for the victims. Praying isn’t enough to stop these horrors, leaving you asking yourself “When will this end?” Don’t even get started with the latest conviction of Larry Nassar, who was found guilty of 332 counts of molestation as a team doctor for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan St. University. And now, one of college football’s all time great coaches in Urban Meyer has a few questions that need to get answered.
Buckeyes Back in the News
Ohio State is no stranger to scandals. Just recently as 2010-11, there was “Tattoogate,” where numerous players were found to be signing autographs in return for tattoos and other improper benefits, leading to the retirement of legendary coach Jim Tressel and the hiring of Urban Meyer in 2012 after a 6-7 2011 season with Luke Fickell at the helm. Fast forward six years and one College Football Playoff Championship later, the Ohio State Buckeyes football program is once again in the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Meyer’s Knowledge of Abuse Allegations
When college football insider, Brett McMurphy broke the story on August 1st, 2018, 9:20 AM CST that he had text messages from victim Courtney Smith, he shook the entire college football world, releasing information that Urban Meyer knew of domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who has been with Meyer since their days at Florida. Courtney Smith has sent text messages to Urban’s wife, Shelley, claiming that people close to Urban have known about the allegations since 2015.
While a graduate assistant at Florida, Zach Smith he was arrested for aggravated battery on his pregnant wife, however the charges would be dropped. Just last week on July 23rd, Smith was fired from Meyer’s staff after violence allegations were uncovered, leaving many questioning Urban at Big Ten Media Days if he had any knowledge of the allegations prior to the firing, Urban claiming “If I did, I would have made a change, or I would not have done it,” also saying “I got a text late (Monday) night (about a report) something happened in 2015. And there was nothing. Once again, there’s nothing — once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that.” The text messages reveal that Shelley Meyer said she was going to tell Urban, however, Courtney Smith claims she never received a message back saying that Shelley did so.
Now on administrative paid leave, many are now asking if we will ever see Urban Meyer in command of the Buckeyes sidelines at Ohio Stadium as The Ohio State University is now conducting an investigation in regards to the allegations. While there is no direct evidence that Urban has knowledge of the 2015 incident, it would only make sense that his own wife would tell him something of this magnitude. As we know in college sports, stories tend to reach higher levels by the day and we have seen many cases where the head coach would resign or get fired and would be followed by even more backlash. How do you even view a figure such as Urban Meyer if he did indeed hide such a horrifying act and taking so long in taking some sort of action? How do scholarship losses and bowl bans even justify these actions? As the story continues, we can only wait to see how the rest of the investigation unfolds.