Urban Meyer Is Latest Coach to Value Winning Over Safety of Abuse Victims

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

It’s an unfortunately all too familiar story.

The head of a major college athletics program learns that one of his underlings is a real sack of crap, then decides that winning is more important than the safety of said crap sack’s victims.

This time the man in charge is Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.

On July 23, Ohio State fired receivers coach Zach Smith following revelations of multiple incidents of alleged domestic violence on his wife Courtney Smith.

The next day, Meyer said he knew of Smith’s arrest for choking his pregnant wife while both coaches were working at Florida in 2009. Two friends of Meyer even pressured Courtney into dropping those charges.

Smith wasn’t fired back then. In fact, Meyer went on to hire him to Ohio State in 2012, and the ensuing six years yielded nine police reports of domestic disputes.

But Meyer denied knowledge of Smith’s 2015 arrest on felony counts of domestic violence and assault.

According to Courtney Smith, Meyer, who led the team to a national championship in 2014, was lying.

Text messages between Courtney Smith, Meyer’s wife Shelley Meyer, and Lindsey Voltolini, another staffer’s wife, suggest the head coach was aware of ongoing abuse.

Joe Paterno at Penn State.

Art Briles at Baylor.

Dana Altman at Oregon.

Practically every single administrator at Michigan State.

I could go on, but there’s only so much time on this green earth.

If Meyer was miraculously unaware of the ongoing abuse, he was admittedly aware of what his assistant was capable of. And he rewarded Smith with a great job at an elite program.

Meyer’s been placed on administrative leave while the school investigates the situation. Ohio State will likely do its best to rationalize Meyer’s role.

They’ll try their best to hold onto Meyer, but fire him if his dubious inaction is too publicly blatant.

At which point, he’ll get a job in charge of another major program.

Because for too many schools, winning is the most important thing.