Skull Session: More Urban Meyer Investigation Drama, Alabama Favored Against Everybody, and Robert Smith's Hobbies

By Kevin Harrish on September 20, 2018 at 4:59 am
Parris Campbell speeds into today's skull session.

We know Nick Bosa will not play against Tulane, but it's looking like we might get some updates soon.

I don't want him to rush back, but lord help the team that faces him when he finally returns.


Word of the Day: Guileless.

 PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. Folks, you'll never guess what happened. Yesterday, we got more news and about Urban Meyer and Gene Smith's suspension, including yet another Facebook longform.

I was optimistic that we were past all this, but I was wrong. I'm as sick of blogging about this as most of you are about reading it, but duty calls. So here I type.

The Wall Street Journal put out a piece on Wednesday afternoon questioning the investigative group's methods. Specifically, they questioned the decision not to send Urban Meyer and Gene Smith's phones to a forensics lab to extract deleted text messages.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Yet the legal team investigating Mr. Meyer’s conduct, led by former Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White, decided not to send Mr. Meyer’s phone to a forensics lab to determine if he actually destroyed evidence, according to two people familiar with the matter.

These people said that investigators also did not seek to extract deleted text messages from the phone of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, who handed over a device that contained no texts. The AD’s explanation was that he routinely deletes all texts after sending or receiving them, these people said. Such a practice may violate both Ohio open records law and the school’s records-retention policy, experts say.


Experts in similar investigations say it has become standard operating procedure to use third-party mobile forensics labs to attempt to retrieve deleted texts.

“It’s just essential,” said Louis Freeh, the former FBI director hired by Penn State in 2011 to investigate the school’s role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Speaking generally about the use of forensics labs in these types of investigations, Mr. Freeh said, “You can’t really do a thorough, credible job without doing that.”

The investigative group's response to those claims was basically that they “determined they already had strong, indisputable evidence” on what they were supposed to be looking for, and thus, did not need to seek any more information.

Gene Smith handing over a phone with zero text messages on it is not a great look, kinda fishy, and possibly illegal, but I don't think it ultimately means much in terms of the investigation.

 BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Y'all thought we were done, but remember I mentioned a Facebook longform? Our friend Jeff Snook is at it one last time.

Snook spoke to two anonymous Ohio State Board of Trustee members who told him most of the trustees did not agree with president Michael Drake's decision to suspend Urban Meyer, and felt Meyer should not have been suspended.

From Snook's Facebook page:

Two members of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees have told me over the past week they believed Urban Meyer’s suspension “was not warranted according to the facts” that resulted from the university’s six-member panel which investigated whether the head coach had covered up alleged domestic violence by former assistant coach Zach Smith.

The “majority” of the trustees disagreed with President Michael Drake’s final decision to suspend Meyer three games and athletic director Gene Smith 17 days and many were disappointed by Drake’s performance “for not being complete and clear” at the ensuing press conference the night of Aug. 22, one trustee said.


Of the evidence gathered from the report, one trustee said, “It was clear to us that there was no substantiated domestic abuse and there was no coverup of such. The other issue we looked hard at was whether there was any violation of Title IX. There was not. And we were concerned with the reporting chain (between Meyer, Gene Smith and the school’s athletic directors related to Title IX). The reporting chain may not have been handled exactly properly, but it had the same effect. The information originally came from the (Powell) police to the athletic director, who reported to the coach. Normally, it’s the other way around, so there was no need for the coach to report to the athletic director in this case. That was just common sense.”

It sounds like while they didn't agree on the suspension, they respected Drake's final decision. But what really upset them was how the suspension was announced and perceived by everyone outside of the university.

Suspending him without proper explanation made it seem like the university was proclaiming Meyer was guilty of covering up domestic abuse, and that the punishment for that was just three games.

Before they left, the trustees made it known to Drake to make it clear during the press conference that Meyer was being suspended “because of his mismanagement” of Zach Smith and not for covering up alleged domestic violence.

But what followed, televised nationally on ESPN2 and in front of more than 300 media members, as Drake announced the penalties for both Meyer and Gene Smith “was not handled correctly,” one trustee claimed.

In the ensuing days, following national media reports, several trustees were “largely disgusted at the fallout and the perception that Urban Meyer was suspended for covering up domestic abuse. That couldn’t have been further from the truth and we made that clear when we left the room that night. We wanted it portrayed accurately (by Drake). It was not. It reflected poorly on the university. It damaged the university's credibility.”

One added, “It left me sick to my stomach.”

Meyer was frustrated by this as well, and it's the reason why he's made multiple clarifying statements.

 ALABAMA VS. THE WORLD. We transition straight from more talk of the Meyer investigation to discussing Bama's absolute dominance. One of you is going to burn me in effigy today, or at least send me an extremely strongly-worded email.

Reminder: All complains should be sent to

Through three games, Alabama is outscoring opponents 170-28, which works out to an average score of 57-9, and two of those games were against Power Five teams that are otherwise undefeated.

The Tide look straight up unbeatable so far, and Vegas agrees, as Alabama would be more than a touchdown favorite over any team in college football, with the Buckeyes having the narrowest spread at 9.5.

But hold on! They haven't played anyone, yet!

Texas A&M heads to Tuscaloosa this weekend to give Bama their first ranked challenge. There's really no telling how good Alabama truly is until it plays a good team. That said, the Tide are winning that game by 30 this weekend.

I'm not sure I'd pick the Bucks to beat Nick Saban's fellows today, but I'd absolutely take 9.5 points.

 ASTRONOMER, MUSICIAN, RUNNING BACK, ETC. Robert Smith just moved high up my list of most fascinating individuals with recent revelations that the legendary speedster dabbles in astronomy and is a lover of classical music.


Strip away the athletic accolades, muscle and grit, and you unearth Smith’s lively passion for astronomy and classical music, nurtured since childhood, but made possible via opportunities afforded him during his NFL playing career.

“I’ve had a curiosity about the natural world and science since early in life, and I remember looking through astronomy books as a third grader and being fascinated,” Smith said. “You look at a black sky and can see some stars, but you can’t really begin to imagine the different worlds that exist until you see it for yourself.”


“As a rookie in the NFL, it hit me like a flash of light that I finally could afford a telescope, so I bought my first and went nuts with it,” Smith recalled. “That’s when astronomy became an obsession for me. I began reading Stephen Hawking books on cosmology and the origins of the universe, and learning more about deep space objects and star charts and buying Astronomy and Sky & Telescope Magazine.”

Smith also listens to an extremely wide variety of music, and even taught himself to play piano late in his NFL career when he fell in love with classical music after watching A Clockwork Orange.

“Malcolm McDowell’s character was obsessed with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and in high school, when I got my first CD player, that was my first CD,” Smith recalled. “It’s a fascinating piece that really opened me up musically. Denny Green (former Vikings coach) was a drummer and had a drum set in the Vikings’ facility. He turned me onto jazz in Minneapolis. When The Lion King came out, I started getting into African music, specifically the ‘African Lullabies’ album. So, it was Public Enemy and Nine Inch Nails to pump myself up, and then relaxing to get my mind ready for a game with ‘Aretha Franklin Sings the Blues’ and ‘African Lullabies.’”

I would like nothing more than to jam with Robert Smith (the one from The Cure would work, as well, but in this case I mean the running back). I'm down for some jazz or African lullabies.

 LOTS OF SMART KIDS. Ohio State is packing more students onto its campus than it ever has this semester, and they also happen to be the smartest group of students ever enrolled.

From Ohio State news:

The new first-year class on the Columbus campus comes in with a record-high average ACT score of 29.3. Of these students, 64 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and 95 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.

The class size stands at 7,851 new first-year students on the Columbus campus, up 10 percent over the class that entered in autumn 2017.


According to the report, total university enrollment increased 2.5 percent from 2017 to 2018. A record-high 68,100 students attend either the Columbus or a regional campus for the new academic year.

Enrollment at the Columbus campus also saw a record number of students this year: The total enrollment is 61,170 for 2018 – an increase of 2.2 percent from over last fall.

I've heard multiple people complain that they can't even find a seat in some classes, which makes sense because not only is the campus slammed, it's full of students who actually go to class.

Speaking of which, tip of the cap to those who go to class even though there isn't a seat for them. If I walked into classroom and there literally wasn't an available seat, I would just simply moonwalk my way back out the door.

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