Urban Meyer: The Poignant Stain on Buckeye Nation
On a night where the news of a three game ban was handed down to Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer, the Ohio State University found itself under the shadow that they have cast upon themselves, one of the darkest moments in campus history. A fraudulent investigation only mirrors the corruption rampant in schools, conferences, and associations nationwide. But today, we focus on Meyer, a coward with enough power to keep himself safe. He is viewed as a god in Columbus and treated just the same. A prestigious school has reached too far, and it will be tarnished for years to come.
Meyer is a coward. With Courtney Smith at risk, Meyer acted in the best interest for himself and the football team he coaches. He preserved and protected a domestic abuser in assistant coach Zach Smith. Morality on the back-burner, the coach will be tasked with leading an impressionable group of young men. But how? How can one grow character and lead by example when hypocrisy reigns? He failed to take a stand when a woman was left vulnerable, scared, and frankly, in danger. We have learned that Meyer does not have what it takes to be a respected figure at any university, much less the head coach of an elite football program.
To be so selfish is one thing, but how irresponsible Meyer comes across as only adds an additional dimension to the disgrace he has become. This has never been more evident than in the press conference we witnessed less than 24 hours ago. Not once does he take ownership of his actions. The arrogance Meyer would have to hold to believe that he did nothing wrong is astonishing. Moreover, he spent his time with a microphone not attempting to fix what he has done, not stepping up to the plate, not acting in any sort of respectable way, but deflecting the blame. Anything to save face; anything to keep his reputation safe. It's too late for that now.
It was too much for Meyer to even apologize to the woman he helped victimize. In fact, her name was not even mentioned until a reporter brought it up. The audacity to practically ignore the victim in this case is purely unsettling. This continued with the only "apology" he uttered. His extenuation went out to Buckeye Nation, because in his eyes, that is what he regrets most. Putting himself in a situation to miss three Ohio State football games. The press conference was a mess that only made matters worse. No sincere regret, no direct apology, just a senseless, embarrassing compilation of statements that further degrade Meyer's character.
Adding on to the despicable actions, both preceding and post investigation, the punishment handed down is incoherent, out of touch, and flat out ridiculous. Three games. Ohio State opens up against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU, teams with a combined 13 wins according to ESPN's win projector. Just about negligible in terms of meaning during the college football season. To call this a slap on the wrist would be hyperbole. The school ran the investigation, that is why he was not suspended for an entire year, or even more justifiable, fired. Ohio State screamed loud and clear that it places morality behind winning in its once beloved football program.
There is more to how weak this punishment truly is. Meyer can still run practices, instill game plans, set morale, and make personnel decisions. He just won't be seen for the first few Saturdays of the college football season. By the time bowl season comes around, there is a healthy shot that many will forget about the enabling, lying, and manipulating Meyer committed. Compare his three game ban to some other suspensions dealt across the college football world. At the same school, Jim Tressel was fired for knowing about Terrelle Pryor's tattoos. North Carolina University student-athletes were suspended four games for selling pairs of shoes. Georgia Bulldogs star Todd Gurley was suspended four games for selling autographs, and A.J. Green was suspended a quartet of games for selling a jersey. The severity of domestic violence in comparison to these offenses makes this punishment heinous.
Unequivocally, there is no place for this kind of behavior, or the abuse it protected, anywhere near a college, sport, or human being in general. This is a sad story that will forever impact the lives of Courtney Smith and other abuse victims that won't feel justice because of the plague that is greed and selfishness. Ohio State kept Meyer in power because he helps them win games, which in turn, makes the school more money. It is a shame that any monetary amount could overrule someone's pain, but Urban Meyer and the school he represents showed us how easily it could be done. The Ohio State University dropped the ball, and Urban Meyer got away with nothing more than a scratch. This is what he, the team, and the university will be remembered for and judged upon. Meyer represents not only the shell of a man he is, but the football team he is called upon to lead and the university that has given him a shot. Meyer is a craven, cowardly being, and he has helped to forever tarnish the Ohio State University.