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Ohio State AD Gene Smith downplays speculation about Ryan Day coach-in-waiting deal

‘The Athletic’ reported last night that discussions were under way to officially make Day Urban Meyer’s eventual successor.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Ohio State Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday morning, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith issued a statement on Twitter which seemed to be in response to a report by The Athletic’s Ari Wasserman that the university was discussing an arrangement to make co-offensive coordinator, and recent interim head coach, Ryan Day the football program’s official coach-in-waiting.

Though downplaying them, Smith’s statement does not deny that the conversations are happening. An arrangement as such would not necessarily require a public announcement, nor would it necessarily happen any time soon, as current head coach Urban Meyer signed a contract extension in the offseason.

Despite the fact that Day has no head coaching experience outside of the three games that started the 2018 season, Wasserman’s report maintains that university officials are talking to Day about the arrangement in order to keep him from the inevitable head coaching inquiries that will arrive following his stellar performance during Meyer’s six-week suspension.

Last week, Ohio State gave Day a $480,000 one-time, lump-sum payment for his efforts in Meyer’s stead. Following the 2017 season, there were reports that Mississippi State had offered Day its head coaching position, but instead of taking that job, Day decided to remain in Columbus as OSU gave him a raise up to $1 million per year. His contract had always been structured to have incentives and increases as it progressed in order to entice him to stay.

When Day came to Columbus, he said that he was looking for a job that he could remain at while his children were in school. He said that for the first time in his coaching career, he had bought a house, rather than renting, because he planned on being in town for a while.

Of course, that was before he was thrust into the national spotlight temporarily replacing one of the most well-known coaches in the sport. Of course, in addition to Meyer’s suspension, Gene Smith himself was suspended for his mishandling of accusations of domestic abuse against former assistant Zach Smith.