Skull Session: Zach Smith's Lawyers Give Insights, Mike MacIntyre Provides Precedent, and Negative Recruiting Begins

By Kevin Harrish on August 2, 2018 at 4:59 am
Ryan Day leads the way into the Thursday Skull Session.

Well. That was certainly something.

But it's also far from over, so make sure you're following along on Twitter and checking back at the site frequently as we keep you up to date on what seems to be a rather fluid situation.


Word of the Day: Exigent.

 MEYER DIDN'T KNOW EVERYTHING. I cannot tell you what Urban Meyer did or did not know regarding the accusations of domestic abuse against Zach Smith, nor could I tell you when he knew what he knew. However, it does seem that he didn't know everything.

According to Zach Smith's current lawyer Bradley Koffel, Smith did withhold things from Meyer, including the 2018 criminal trespass charge.

From Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch:

“I can tell you as a matter of fact,” Koffel texted to The Dispatch on Wednesday, “that Zach never told Coach Meyer about the 2018 criminal trespass even after I told Zach, ‘Urban shouldn’t have to hear about this in the news someday.’

“I now understand why Zach compartmentalized the info — to protect Urban. You cannot impute every family argument involving an employee and his wife to the CEO of a company or the head coach of a large football program.

“Also, when the police show up and walk away after investigating the accusations, that also factors into what action, if any, an employer should take against their employee.”

I'm with the lawyer – if I were working for Meyer, I would not want him to hear of my transgressions via the world wide web. But that's Zach Smith's call.

 ZACH SMITH'S OTHER LAWYER WEIGHS IN. If we're going to hear from Zach Smith's current lawyer about Urban Meyer's current situation, we may as well hear from his former lawyer, too.

Doug Lesmerises of spoke to Larry James, who represented Zach Smith in 2015, about how much responsibility Meyer should have had in this case.


As for whether Ohio State or Meyer should have been responsible for doing more, James said this.

"That's very difficult. In a situation like this, if you're asking the questions what did you know or should you have known, I just don't see it," James said. 

James said he didn't want to downplay the seriousness of the situation in light of the increased awareness of abuse toward women, "but the documentation and verification and evidence didn't seem to be there. Because she was represented by a lawyer, she had made the complaint, law enforcement had investigated, and I just don't know. I can't see it.

"It's just hard. I'm hard-pressed to put more responsibility on Ohio State vs. her lawyer vs. whoever was investigating and not moving forward. I think that's grossly unfair."

I'd advise you to take both of these lawyers' statements with a grain of salt. I'm always wary of lawyers' public statements, because well, they're lawyers. They're paid to represent their clients, not to give the media unfiltered, objective truth.

Also, for what it's worth, James also represented the Ohio State football players during 2011's Tattoogate.

 NOT WITHOUT PRECEDENT. This whole situation seems quite unique, but in reality, there actually is some surprisingly recent precedent.

Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre found himself in very similar situation following the 2016 season. Colorado's safeties coach, Joe Tumpkin, resigned following domestic violence allegations after the season.

Similar to Meyer's case, the victim revealed in an interview that she told MacIntyre about the abuse before the allegations went public.

MacIntyre informed athletic director Rick George of the conversation and confronted Tumpkin of the allegations, but Tumpkin was still allowed to coach in the team's December bowl game.

From Tim Bielik of

But despite the allegations, George and university Chancellor Phil DiStefano agreed to let Tumpkin coach in the Alamo Bowl at the end of December. And because former defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt took a job at Oregon prior to the game, Tumpkin called the defense.

Tumpkin was suspended in January of 2017, and then resigned later that month.

The school concluded its investigation in June. Neither MacIntyre, George nor DiStefano was fired. But DiStefano was suspended for 10 days, MacIntyre and George had to donate $100,000 each to domestic violence awareness, and all three received letters of reprimand.

In July of this year, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the victim claiming that the school didn't respond properly to her allegations.

MacIntyre and Colorado went 5-7 last year. But he kept his job despite the controversy and is set to coach Colorado again this season.

Of course, all situations are different and this is no true indication of what could happen to Meyer, but it's a very recent example of a remarkably similar incidence, and the head coach kept his job.

In Meyer's case, though, the alleged victim never claims to have told Meyer specifically about the abuse, but rather that she believes he knew based on her conversations with his wife, Shelley, and other coaches' wives. On the other hand, if Meyer did know, it's unclear if he reported it to his superiors, as MacIntyre did.

 SO IT BEGINS. Regardless of if Urban Meyer survives this and remains Ohio State's head coach, this whole situation is absolutely going to be used against the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail.

In fact, it probably started already.

Of course, this is cryptic as hell, but Garrett – a four-star, top-50 recruit – is presumed to be a heavy Ohio State lean and he posted this Tweet shortly after the Meyer news was released. It doesn't take the Mystery Team to connect those dots.

A rival head coach saw this as a time to pounce on an injured giant, and I can't say I blame him.

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