Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer was suspended three games on Wednesday night following an investigation into domestic abuse allegations against the Buckeyes’ former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Suspended

The university’s athletic director Gene Smith also received a suspension. The inquiry began after college football reporter Brett McMurphy wrote an article that asserted Meyer knew about domestic violence accusations against Zach Smith that dated back to 2015. A series of text messages between Meyer’s wife and Smith’s spouse Courtney were among the records examined as part of the probe.

Meyer also drew criticism earlier this year for not being fully transparent about how much he knew about his then-assistant coach’s history of violent behavior. Many reporters then accused Meyer of lying at College Football Media Day last month after the Buckeyes head coach clarified his comments on that day several weeks later.

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Several ESPN hosts reacted to the news about Meyer’s suspension with disgust toward the coach and Ohio State’s football program for covering up Smith’s behavior, which according to McMurphy also allegedly included sexual misconduct. Zach Smith reportedly took sexually inappropriate photos of himself during the Buckeyes’ visit to the White House in April 2015 after they won the national championship.

On ESPN’s Get Up!, Michelle Beadle blasted Meyer for not even “pretending to be a little bit sorry” during Ohio State’s press conference on Wednesday:

“In 11 hours, you couldn’t at least get up there and pretend to be a little bit sorry?” said Beadle. “You couldn’t say “look, this is an awful situation, it could have been handled a million times better,’ or ‘Courtney Smith, I’m sorry that you got dragged through this?’ You couldn’t even muster that, which tells me everything I need to know: that you have zero culpability in this, and you don’t think anything wrong happened, which is why I think the entire thing is a farce.”


Beadle’s co-host Jalen Rose agreed that Meyer’s performance in the news conference was disgraceful, and added that the punishment given to the coach should have been more severe. He also said Zach Smith’s punishment should have gone beyond being fired, and called out the NCAA for not speaking out against the pair of Ohio State coaches. Rose also compared Meyer’s punishment to that of other former Buckeyes coaches or players, like NFL wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. 

“The NCAA, where are they? I hear about them when it’s something related to the players or a scandal,” said Rose. “And those three games you talked about: Terrelle Pryor and four other Ohio State players were suspended for five games. Guess what they did? Exchange jerseys, championship rings, and awards for tattoos. They got five games for that. [Los Angeles Rams running back] Todd Gurley was suspended four games in 2014 for accepting $3,000 in autograph memorabilia.”

“The NCAA doesn’t punish this behavior, it fosters this environment,” Rose added.

Among the other ESPN commentators who blasted the outcome of the Ohio State investigation and the punishments handed down were Stephen A. Smith — who said the Buckeyes football program “embarrassed itself” — and Paul Finebaum. 

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