Around this time next week — or shortly thereafter — we should know whether or not Urban Meyer has a future as the head football coach at Ohio State.
In a statement released Friday evening, the university announced that the independent working group conducting the investigation into Meyer will wrap up its probe of the coach Sunday. That day falls directly in line with the expected 14-day timeline given by the university earlier this month.
Meyer’s fate won’t be known this weekend, however, as the investigators will compile a report based on the results of their investigation. When that report is complete, it will be shared with the university’s Board of Regents; the report is expected to reach the regents at some point next week.
From the university’s statement:
Following receipt, the working group will share the report with the Board of Trustees in an executive session to be held next week. As required by law, public notice of the meeting will be released at least 24 hours in advance. Following deliberations with the board, and appropriate time for consideration, President Michael V. Drake will announce his decision.
The decision will likely come down to either Meyer being fired or Meyer being suspended for X number of games to start the 2018 season, but staying on as the head coach. There’s a growing sense that there’s a much greater chance for the latter to happen than the former. Still, the board is expected to give significant weight to the investigative team’s findings, which will influence the direction in which the president goes.
Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 1 as questions into his handling of domestic abuse allegations made against his now-former assistant coach, Zach Smith, surfaced. The university launched an investigation into Meyer’s actions the day after the head coach’s leave was announced.
Zach Smith, fired by Meyer as OSU wide receivers coach July 23 in the wake of allegations that he abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith, during their marriage, met with the investigative team on Tuesday of this week. Courtney Smith, along with her attorneys, met with investigators the day before her ex-husband.
In a statement Aug. 3, Meyer claimed that he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels.” Allegations of domestic abuse stemmed not only from Zach Smith’s time at OSU, but while he was on Meyer’s Florida staff in 2009 as well.
Meyer’s boss in Gainesville, former UF athletic director Jeremy Foley, declined comment on that 2009 incident earlier this month. Meyer’s current boss in Columbus, OSU athletic director Gene Smith, could also be in the university’s crosshairs as Zach Smith alleged that the AD contacted him about the allegations in October of 2015.
As of late last week, Gene Smith was on vacation but “available to speak with the investigative team.” Whether that happened or not hasn’t been confirmed either way.