Ohio State University has come under serious fire with the way in which they handled the issue with football head coach, Urban Meyer. He, along with athletic director Gene Smith, have been suspended without pay for a period of time due to the fact that they mishandled the allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. The issue here is not that both men have been disciplined by it, it is that both men were not disciplined appropriately. It shows that collegiate athletics focuses more on the potential glory that they can gain, over ethics and values that should be upheld.
In giving OSU credit here, they are not the only institution that has come under fire recently for doing so. It just so happens that they are the high profile case at the moment, and the fact that this case has been going on for the last few months has not helped the cause. Zach Smith is no longer the assistant coach at Ohio State, and rightfully so. In saying that, both Meyer and Gene Smith should be fired as well for their part in not reporting what they knew when it first came to light in 2015.
Meyer has been suspended without pay from August 22 through to September 2, as well as not being allowed to coach the first three games of the season. He had been placed on paid administrative leave from August 1 after the ex-wife of Zach Smith came out and said that she believed Meyer and others knew of the abuse, yet did not report it. Meyer initially came out and supported Smith, saying he knew nothing about the issue before backtracking later to say he misspoke and that he reported the issue in 2015. Gene Smith has been suspended without pay from August 31 though September 16.
The issue here is that those who were involved with the investigation have shown everyone within college athletics that fame and glory is the only thing that matters. If this were to be a high school, any other university without fame or even some professional sporting organizations, both men would be out of a job. Ohio State have fired coaches for much less. Jim O’Brien was fired in 2004 for a loan to the mother of a recruit that had signed for Ohio State. While that violated NCAA rules and cost the school money, that was a moral misjudgment. It’s believed that Meyer knew about the allegations but did not say anything.
Those who did the investigation have decided to keep a fantastic coach, but throw away any morals that they may have had. They did not follow the precident that had been set with previous coaches. USA Today reported that, via the Washington Post, Meyer could be fired with cause and they would not have to pay a buyout. Part of Meyer’s contract states that he can be fired for cause for failing to report incidents of abuse to the school, including “violations during employment of Coach at Ohio State or any other institution of higher learning.”
Ohio State announces disciplinary actions for Head Football Coach Urban Meyer and Athletics Director Gene Smith.
— Ohio State (@OhioState) August 23, 2018
This case is exactly that, failing to report an incident of abuse to the school at which he is employed at. Ohio State can fire Meyer, and not pay a single penny. Instead, they chose to suspend the coach who took them to a championship in 2014. They chose to put winning over morals. Ohio State are ranked 5th in the pre-season AP Top 25, and very well could climb closer to the top spot if all goes well in the first three games. The result of this investigation has told us that football fame is more important to one of the most recognized institutions in America, than ethics and morals are.