Ohio State University announced a three-game suspension for head football coach Urban Meyer Wednesday evening after how he handled domestic violence allegations against his former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
The decision forces Meyer to miss the Buckeyes' first three games on Sept. 1st, 8th and 15th without pay. But he will be allowed to coach practices after Sept. 2nd.
The university also announced a suspension without pay for athletic director Gene Smith, ranging from Aug. 31st to Sept. 16th.
Both announcements were made during a press conference late Wednesday evening at the Longaberger Alumni House. Here are the key quotes from the evening's events.
Head coach Urban Meyer on his trust of Zach Smith:
As I reflect my loyalty to his grandfather Earle Bruce who was my mentor and like a father to me and likely impacted how I treated Zach over the years. I did not know everything about Zach Smith which was what Zach Smith was doing and I'm pleased that the report made this very clear. However, I should have demanded more from him and recognized red flags.
There were red flags and I wish I had known and I wish I did a better job of finding things out. I wish I was told more things. Ultimately, that is part of the job you're ultimately responsible to represent this incredible university and, man, I wish I had done more. I wish I had known more.
Meyer on his handling of Big Ten Media Day, where he told reporters in attendance falsehoods:
I did a poor job at Media Day. It's a big reason why we are here today. I was not being as complete and as accurate as I should have been on Media Day and afterward but no intent to mislead. My role is to set a good example and in this instance I did not live up to the university's standards.
Meyer when asked if he felt he should've been suspended:
I trust and support our president.
Meyer when asked about if he has a message for Courtney Smith:
Well, I have a message for everyone involved in this. I'm sorry that we are in the situation. And I'm just sorry we are in this situation.
Meyer when asked if he knew of text messages between Courtney Smith and his wife, Shelley:
I was not aware of Shelley's text messages at the time.
Investigative Team Chair Mary Jo White on the process her team went through while conducting the investigation:
I thought I would start with a brief summary of the process that we followed in this investigation. And it's really a summary level but over 40 witnesses were interviewed. Many more than one time. Many, several times, in person and over the phone. More than 60,000 electronic documents and 10,000 pages of Coach Meyer's text messages from the past year were accessed and reviewed. In addition to relevant media statements, police reports, court filings, the employment contracts of Coach Meyer, and athletic director Gene Smith.
White on whether or not the team believed Meyer lied about his knowledge of the events regarding Zach Smith in 2015:
Meyer falsely stated he lacked knowledge of all relevant events regarding alleged domestic violence by Zach Smith in 2015. While those denials were plainly not accurate, Coach Meyer did not, in our view, deliberately lie.
Ohio State President Michael Drake announces Meyer's three-game suspension:
Based on the independent investigation, I want to state clearly that we believe Urban Meyer did not and does not condone domestic abuse. However, he did fail to take sufficient management action regarding Zach Smith and he was not as complete an accurate at Media Days and did not not uphold the high standards and values of the university on that day. Therefore, Urban Meyer is suspended through September 2nd, 2018, and for the games on September 1st, 8th, and 15th. He will forego pay for that period of time.
Drake announces the suspension of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith:
In addition, athletic director Gene Smith also failed to take sufficient action in relation to Zach Smith's misconduct and did not exhibit the leadership we expect in his role as overseeing the department of athletics, including the football program. As a result, Gene Smith is suspended without pay from August 31st to September 16th, 2018.
Drake when asked why Tuesday's deliberations took 12 hours:
We wanted to be fair. We wanted to be equitable. We wanted to be just. We wanted to be appropriate. We worked to refine our decisions and our actions to be able to do the best that we could to achieve those goals.
This is a very difficult and complicated situation. Many things to consider over a long period of time, and the reason it took 10 hours of this is to try to make sure that we were being thoughtful and considerate in every case.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith addresses Buckeye nation:
To Buckeye Nation, to the Board of Trustees and President Drake, I want to express my sincere apologies of the situation we have before us. I appreciate the hard work and effort of the investigative team and the leadership of our president.
Smith thanks Ryan Day for his actions during the past 22 days:
I want to thank Coach Ryan Day and ask that all of us continue to support him and our support staff around football. They have been strong leaders through this time and we are appreciative of everything that they have done.