Reggie Bush may be preparing to make his best sales pitches to Urban Meyer in an attempt to lure the national championship head coach to USC at his earliest convenience, but Meyer’s previous boss doesn’t seem to think that will be happening. In a report from USA Today, Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith says he doesn’t think Meyer will make another return to coaching despite what seems to be a pretty popular idea floating around the college football world.
“I have a hard time believing that,” Smith said in the story from George Schroeder of USA Today. Although, Smith did concede that it would be unwise to suggest with 100% certainty Meyer is done coaching for good.
“You can never say never,” Smith added.
Meyer retired from his position as head coach of Ohio State after the Rose Bowl victory over Washington last January. The retirement came at the end of a season that saw a Big Ten title defense and a late bid for a potential spot in the College Football Playoff, but was otherwise marred by the distraction off the field regarding the handling of former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Regardless of the circumstances, Meyer capped his time at Ohio State with a Rose Bowl victory to go along with a number of other achievements in Columbus, including multiple Big Ten titles and a College Football Playoff national championship.
Meyer is now preparing for a new job as a college football studio analyst with FOX Sports, where he will be working alongside Bush. Bush has joked he plans to help convince Meyer to return to coaching to take over as head coach of the USC Trojans, with a cloud of uncertainty hovering above current Trojans head coach Clay Helton. Now that Meyer is already getting cozy in Los Angeles, the rumor mill could be in full operation soon enough, as if it isn’t already.
But for now, Smith feels confident in suggesting we may have seen the last of Meyer coaching on the sidelines. Time will tell, and a quick return to coaching after retirement is not abnormal for Meyer. Meyer spent one season working for ESPN after retiring from Florida before he was hired to be the head coach at Ohio State.
Ohio State’s Board of Trustees will hold a public meeting Wednesday morning to discuss what is being described as “personnel matters related to the investigation involving Urban Meyer. It will be at this time the investigative team will share its findings to the board, which will be used to determine what happens next at Ohio State with possible regard to the future of Meyer as head coach of the Buckeyes. The meeting is scheduled for August 22 at 9 AM at Ohio State’s Longaberger Alumni House.
For now, this is the only update on the situation and it remains to be seen what this means for Meyer and his future. The future of athletics director Gene Smith will also be under a microscope following allegations, including from Meyer and former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, that Gene Smith was aware of the allegations of domestic abuse by the former assistant coach.
Speculating either way on this would be unwise without insight on what exactly was discussed and discovered by the team leading the investigation into Meyer after Meyer was accused of withholding information about Zach Smith’s behavior with his wife. However, it is fair to assume we will get some concrete answers to some lingering questions on Wednesday, for better or worse.
Ohio State wrapped up its investigation process over the weekend, and an update was expected to happen shortly after the investigation process wrapped up. The reason for waiting a couple of days may be to ensure trustee members will be available and any information received in the investigation process has time to be sorted and prepared as best as possible.
So, in brief, no decisions are being made today. Check back on Wednesday.
Late Sunday night, Ohio State released an updated statement regarding its investigation into the allegations made against head coach Urban Meyer related to his knowledge of domestic abuse by a former assistant coach. According to the statement from Ohio State, a conclusion to this investigation is expected within 14 days.
Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson has been assigned the role of the chairwoman for the working group, which was previously announced by the university late last week. Once the investigation is completed, the university president will make an ultimate decision on what happens next following a consultation with the Board of Trustees. It is unclear if the board and president will make their decisions within the 14-day time span, although the way the statement is worded suggests that may not be the case. If the investigation takes 14 days in full to complete, then a decision may be at least another day away from being made, whatever that may be.
“Ohio State is committed to a thorough and complete investigation,” Davidson said in a released statement. “We look forward to sharing the results of this investigation and any action the university may take.”
It is clear, however, Ohio State is working to bring some resolution to this situation ahead of the football season. To some, it may appear Ohio State is rushing this process in order to have the football team in position to begin the season knowing who exactly will be the head coach, whether it be Meyer returning from his administrative leave or interim head coach Ryan Day (or somebody else?) leading the Buckeyes. But a two-week time span to review the facts already known and any information previously reported feels appropriate for a comprehensive review as long as all parties involved are transparent and forthcoming in their stories.
After initially stating he was unsure how a story like this was even manufactured at Big Ten media day, Meyer has since announced he was aware of the alleged domestic abuse by former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Furthermore, Meyer claimed to report the news up the chain of command, thus putting the focus on athletics director Gene Smith. Zach Smith also confirmed Gene Smith was aware of the situation. Zach Smith continues to deny he committed acts of domestic abuse against his wife but has admitted confrontations between the two had gotten physical at times and those interactions may have resulted in scratches and bruises and more even though Smith claims any injuries he was responsible for were in acts of self-defense.
Ohio State’s football season begins on September 1 at home against Oregon State. Kickoff is in 26 days. By then, we should know who the head coach of Ohio State will be, one way or the other.
The football world continues to pay tribute to the life of former Ohio State Buckeye and New Orleans Saints player Will Smith, who was the victim of a gun shooting in New Orleans earlier this week. Ohio State will recognize the former Buckeye with a memorial sticker on their football helmets during this weekend’s spring football game in Columbus.
A first look of the memorial sticker, featured Smith’s initials and a buckeye, was shared on Twitter by Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith.
Smith was a three-year starter at Ohio State and a part of the 2002 national championship team. He was also a part of the Saints’ Super Bowl championship team in 2006.
Ohio State’s spring game (which Urban Meyer says he wants 100,000 fans to attend) is scheduled for Saturday, April 16 at 1:30 p.m. eastern. The game will air on Big Ten Network.
Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith has plenty of reasons to offer praise for the new College Football Playoff. His football program wiggled into the four-team playoff last season after nudging past and pulling away from Big 12 contenders Baylor and TCU, and then the Buckeyes took advantage of the opportunity by defeating SEC champion Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the first College Football Playoff national championship game. Naturally, Smith thinks the playoff worked out well, and he would prefer to keep it as it is moving forward.
Smith’s primary concern about potential expansion to the College Football Playoff appears to be the health of the players. A championship contender is already set to play 14 to 15 games in a single season (12 regular season games, conference championship game if applicable, one semifinal game and national championship game), and expanding to the length of an NFL season at this level is not something Smith feels would be a good idea.
“Could they (play one)? Sure,” Smith said Tuesday at the Big Ten spring meetings (He also said he expects Braxton Miller to stay at Ohio State in 2015). “Would we have had significant injuries? No doubt. We had a nice gap between the Big Ten championship game and the Sugar Bowl. But we still had guys recovering from playing the gauntlet of the regular season.”
The health and safety of the players has been a big topic in recent years, so it comes as no surprise there might be some hesitation to expand the postseason by at least one more round because of it. Remember, the players are not paid to play (beyond the value of a scholarship), and schools are preparing to offer more in total cost of attendance packages and more through the age of autonomy.
The College Football Playoff cooked up some massive TV numbers and the revenue generated from it was nice as well. You would think there would be some financial incentive to expand the playoff field by one more round, and the calls for expansion are already firing up (they were growing before the completion of one year of the new system), but the company line coming from the College Football Playoff is it remains committed to a four-team format for the duration of the current contract (so 11 more years of four-team playoffs).
The playoff is very likely to expand at one point. It is more a question of “When,” not “If.”