Is this the end of Urban Meyer's reign in Columbus?


Urban Meyer hoists the 2015 National Championship Trophy

In the past 24 hours, there's been alot of talk about what's going on with Urban Meyer regarding to the domestic violence case of his former assistant coach Zach Smith. It was first reported Wednesday evening that Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave by Ohio State so that the school could conduct an investigation to determine whether Meyer knew about these acts of domestic violence in 2015 and did not report it to the school.

Throughout his coaching career, he has proven himself to be one of the greatest coaches in the game. Meyer won three national championships with Florida and won another in 2015 with Ohio State, and also coached Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State to a grand total of 16 straight winning seasons during his tenures with the programs with a career coaching record of 177-31. Until this day, it was assumed that Meyer would continue his winning ways in 2018 and many years to come at OSU.

As soon as this story came out, people began to think about his issues that forced him out of Florida and the allegations drew comparisons with college basketball's Rick Pitino, who is without a job right now because of coaching a second program with NCAA violations (Louisville and Kentucky), as many people considered Meyer being hired as the Ohio State head coach as "a second chance".

While at Florida, Meyer had several issues with keeping his players and locker room under control. During his six years with the program in which he won three national titles, a whopping 31 different players on his teams were arrested for misdemeanor or felony crimes. Meyer did not help this cause as he gave very lax punishments to these players, as the harshest punishments would be a four-game suspension. It seemed as if all he cared about was winning football games and that he did not care what his players did off the field. Among these 31 players was his very troubled star-tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez's legal troubles began with a bar fight in Florida while he was at the univeristy. He then proceeded to get drafted by the New England Patriots, where he became a Pro Bowler. Later on, he was arrested and eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, where a year later he committed suicide in 2017. While he was at Florida, Meyer did not discipline him the way he should have and overlooked his off-field issues because of his football talent. Hernandez continued to hang around his friends that he grew up with who were in and out of jail and nothing but trouble.

Meyer's issues at Florida were overlooked because he kept on winning championships, but when he left the program he faced alot of scrutiny for how his players behaved off the field and he told the public that this would not be the case at Ohio State. In Columbus, he has only had a few players with arrest records and has focused on keeping his locker room in control. However, with this domestic violence case against his assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last month, all signs are suggesting that Meyer was aware of this situation and did not report it to the school like the clause in his contract (which was added in April) requires him to.

The victim told authorities that she told Meyer's wife about Smith beating her before their divorce. If this is found to be true, more than likely Meyer's wife told him about the situation and he proceeded to do nothing about the situation. Back in 2013, Smith punched his pregnant wife and Meyer and his wife attempted to help their relationship by giving them counseling according to Meyer during his press conference last week on BigTen Network. When asked yesterday, he denied the allegations. Another thing about Meyer's coaching staff to note is that he has stood by assistant coaches Kevin Wilson and Greg Schiano. Wilson resigned as head coach of Indiana when he was accused of mistreating players, while Schiano has been accused of being aware of Jerry Sandusky abusing children while at Penn State.

As the whole investigation takes off and unfolds, many people are wondering what's next for Ohio State and Urban Meyer. If the school finds evidence that Meyer knew about the situation and neglected to do anything about it, then the school will have no choice but to fire him. If Meyer gets fired from Ohio State, he could be in a similar predicament as Rick Pitino and never get a job again because of his lack of institutional control and corruptly ran programs. For the school, losing Urban Meyer would be a disaster for the football program but is also likely because the magnitude of this issue and his history gives them much more reason to fire him than they had to fire Jim Tressel. If Meyer is fired, you can expect to see alot of de-commits from the 2019 recruiting class as well as alot of current players electing to transfer schools. Another problem that the school could face is NCAA sanctions. If the NCAA decides to investigate the situation and finds that school officials knew about the situation and did nothing about it, the football program could face major penalties, possibly similar to what happened with the Title IX investigation of Art Briles at Baylor. As the investigation continues to unfold, Buckeye fans should be feeling a little uneasy as the future of the program is up in the air.

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