This is a tough one, and obviously Beau and I have been ruminating on it for a while now. In our opinion, you can throw out all the arguments about how Brett McMurphy has handled his reporting (not particularly well), or the specific details about whether Zach's citation/arrest/report says X, Y, or Z (he wasn't arrested in 2015), or even the exact chronology of Zach and Courtney Smith's relationship (frankly far too complicated to keep track of).
All that matters for us is how you decide to answer the following two questions:
1. Do you believe that Urban Meyer felt in 2015 (or before) that Zach Smith was a potential abuser of women?
2. If he did, will Ohio State view his failure to remove Zach Smith from the program as enough grounds to fire him?
To us, the answer to the first question is most likely a "yes." In addition to the other incidents surrounding Zach Smith (the texts and pictures between the parties involved, the recent statement from Courtney Smith via her attorney, Urban Meyer's own admission of knowledge of incidents in 2015), in Zach's own words Urban in 2015 threatened him with an immediate firing if he hit his wife. That tells me, at least, that Urban Meyer knew that this was an issue he felt he had to address because there was a potential that it might've happened.
The second question is much more difficult. My immediate, knee-jerk answer to that one is also "yes." I base this on the fact that Urban Meyer is one of the most highly-paid public employees in the entire country, and as such is held to a higher standard than just "a football coach." He's the most visible representative of the flagship university of the state of Ohio, and has clauses written into his contract designed to protect Ohio State from controversy and scandal. As a public employee, his job comes with a necessary amount of public scrutiny that also comes with a high level of responsibilities (including, yes, monitoring the behavior of his staff/team) and consequences for not living up to them. All of which is to say nothing about the moral obligation to take a stand against abuse.
But. There are huge gaps in our understanding of this story. We don't know if or how Urban Meyer tried to advance his concerns about Zach Smith up the ladder. We don't know if there were legal barriers preventing him from taking the kinds of actions that people like myself might demand of him. We don't know if Ohio State had certain protocols or operations that took any kind of punishment or firing decisions out of Urban Meyer's hands. We don't know if there were internal investigations that haven't been revealed yet.
So predictions are premature. This Dubcast is based on what we know right now, and were we think this might go, but that's really just a fancy way to say that this is all speculation. To help us sort through all of this, we brought on Adam Rittenberg, who has a lot to say about his perspective of the situation and how ESPN has handled it form their end. Big ups to him for that.
But hey, it's a Dubcast, so of course we have Ask Us Anything, which you can do via e-mail or Twitter, and if you enjoy our humble little show you can check us out on Google Podcasts or iTunes (please rate and subscribe)!
0:00 Well... the offseason is no longer boring, I guess. It's going to be a rough few weeks, but if there's one part of this drama that seems not stupid, it's the investigation committee. They seem like a legitimate bunch.
23:14 Adam Rittenberg, like us, isn't sure where this is all headed, but he has a pretty good idea about why it's developed the way that it has.
37:12 With apologies to West Lafayette.