UPDATE: In a statement released by the Ohio State football team and head coach Urban Meyer, it was announced that senior linebacker Storm Klein had been summarily dismissed from the football program. The statement read "The charges filed against Storm Klein violate the core values of the Ohio State Football Program...It has been made very clear that this type of charge will result in dismissal." Meyer went on to state that should Klein's legal situation change, his status with respect to the team would be revisited.
According to the court hearing, the alleged altercation stemmed from an argument about the future of a relationship between Klein and the alleged victim.
The prosecutor said in court, "The defendent then grabbed the prosecuting witness and wrapped his arms around her body and grabbed her forearms causing scrapes. He purposefully threw her against the front door causing her head to hit the door. There were pictures that detailed these injuries.
"There were noticeable injuries all over the prosecuting witness' body including to her arms."
While due process exists with great reason, assuming the photographic evidence depict what the prosecution said in court they did, it will be almost impossible for Urban Meyer not to act swiftly and authoritatively. What does precedent during his tenure as the head coach of the University of Florida suggest?Respecting women has long been documented as a core value of Meyer's teams (and Meyer personally) and the closest examples of Meyer's Gators facing similar legal situations were that of running back Chris Rainey, offensive lineman Carl Johnson, defensive back Jacques Rickerson, and cornerback Avery Atkins :
Charge: Rainey was arrested on a charge of aggravated stalking, a felony, on Sept. 14.
Outcome: Pleaded down to a misdemeanor.
Team punishment: Missed five games before being reinstated.
Charge: Misdemeanor violation of a sexual restraining order in February 2009 after getting on the same campus bus as an ex-girlfriend. The woman previously filed a petition claiming Johnson date-raped her on three occasions.
Outcome: All charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Team punishment: Johnson never missed any time. Coach Urban Meyer said Johnson would remain on the team as long as the investigation checked out.
Charge #1: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in February 2007.
Outcome: Charges were dropped without legal ramifications.
Charge #2: Felony domestic violence by strangulation and felony obstruction of justice after a November 2008 altercation with a girlfriend.
Outcome: Charges were reduced to misdemeanor status, then the Alachua County courts gave him two years probation without proceeding with the charges.
Team punishments: Rickerson was suspended for the 2007 season opener for the marijuana charge, then kicked off the team the morning of the domestic violence incident.
Charge: Misdemeanor domestic battery in July 2006 after an altercation in Daytona Beach with the mother of his child. The initial investigation took place in June 2006 with Atkins facing accusations of felony false imprisonment along with the battery charge.
Outcome: Atkins received pre-trial intervention and both cases were eventually dropped.
Team punishment: Meyer immediately suspended Atkins, who then transferred to Bethune-Cookman, found legal trouble there and died in July 2007 from a drug overdose.
Rainey's situation was fodder for Mike Bianchi types (Bianchi himself included) who felt Urban didn't do enough to send a message that even threatening violence against women is never acceptable (and there's no doubt he's right about the latter). Rainey's star power very likely played a role in his return to the team, though Meyer's also mentioned the likes of Avery Atkins as the tragic model case for why giving a troubled individual a short leash can have disastrous consequences. At the time, Meyer had this to say about the reasoning behind the reinstatement:
"Chris has a history of opening his mouth and careless things coming out of his mouth. Obviously, this is the first time anything like this," Meyer said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday. "Part of his getting back is correcting that issue."
Meyer had previously talked to Rainey about a comment he made in early August about last year's team having "prima donnas."
That was nothing compared to Rainey's current situation. He was immediately kicked off the team after his arrest.
Meyer said he did not consider letting him come back until his legal case was resolved. He added that he met with professionals, and that someone else met with the victim and relayed information from her.
Meyer said he also discussed Rainey's reinstatement with UF athletic director Jeremy Foley and president Bernard Machen.
"I let everything happen, and I just thought it would be the best interest to get him on the team," Meyer said. "Chris is not a violent person."
Whether that was for football reasons or to try and keep Rainey from making further life mistakes, it's tough not to argue those sorts of talking points don't exactly do Urban many favors.
Overall, Rickerson's second legal issue is the most analogous in terms of the purported events involving Storm Klein and probably outlines the fate likely in store for the would be senior linebacker. Should he be be formally convicted of either offenses, it's hard to envision a scenario where Klein is reinstated in 2012.
As previously mentioned, Klein, who started 10 games for Ohio State in 2011, had faded in the depth chart behind talented sophomore Curtis Grant and also battled injuries most of the spring. Subsequently he wasn't expected to play a huge role with the Buckeyes. Ohio State will have talented incoming freshman Camren Williams in the fold shortly along with the likes of Stewart Smith, Luke Roberts, Connor Crowell, and Joshua Perry providing depth at the linebacker positions. Seeing a senior's career cut short can sometimes leave a team short handed, but it shouldn't have a significant impact on Ohio State's defensive formidability.
Having a situation such as this transpire is never welcome, first and foremost for the individuals involved. Having one occur so early in Urban Meyer's tenure and on the heels of two other arrests will only fuel the cynical narratives questioning his steadfastness as a disciplinarian, while adding to a growing list of distractions going into August's beginning of summer football.