Following a day that featured a bizarre stakeout from media members and anxious fans, hours of speculation online, and an uncomfortable press conference, things got even weirder when the Ohio State University released the the complete report of public information compiled from the independent working group tasked with investigating the athletic department’s handling of allegations against former assistant football coach Zach Smith.
Former Security and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White was the lead investigator, and at the beginning of the press conference she outlined six key takeaways from the working group’s report.
However, it wasn’t until after the media had a chance to ask questions of university president Michael V. Drake, athletic director Gene Smith, and head football coach Urban Meyer that the complete “Independent Investigation Full Summary of Findings” was released to the public.
While the investigation seems to clear Meyer and Gene Smith of violating university policy, it also paints a vivid picture of Zach Smith’s increasingly erratic and dangerous behavior following his divorce. It also indicates that Meyer resisted every opportunity to terminate Smith until last month, despite the recommendation of his AD and countless warning signs.
As Meyer admitted in the press conference, he was likely far more patient with Zach Smith’s bad actions due to his relationship with Smith’s grandfather, the late Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce.
Whether or not Meyer’s inaction rose to the level of a three-game suspension is up for debate; but what is not is that Zach Smith probably should have been fired long before last month.