For Ohio State University, is winning what matters most?
Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer will lose about $725,000 as a result of the suspensions he has served and will serve. If that seems like a lot, consider that it is less than one-tenth what Meyer is expected to be paid this year.
Is the punishment for what Meyer did — or, more precisely, did not do — sufficient? Some say no.
OSU officials revealed recently that they have suspended Meyer for the first three games of the 2018 season. He will forfeit pay for that period and for the administrative suspension while his case was being investigated.
University athletic director Gene Smith also was punished, with a two-week suspension.
All this stems from Meyer’s handling of misbehavior by an assistant coach, Zach Smith, and Meyer’s lack of complete candor in discussing the problem with the press.
Meyer landed in hot water initially when it was learned he and his wife were aware of domestic abuse allegations by Smith’s then-wife, Courtney, but did nothing about it.
At first, Meyer denied much knowledge of the situation. It came out he knew more than he admitted initially.
An OSU investigation disclosed that was not the only misbehavior tolerated by Meyer. Smith was reprimanded in 2014 for visiting a strip club while on a recruiting trip. Later, while involved in divorce proceedings, he was warned about being late for practices and skipping scheduled recruiting visits. Still later, Meyer failed to tell Gene Smith he had suggested the assistant coach get help to beat his addiction to a prescription drug.
Meyer tolerated a pattern of problems with Smith.
The worst, of course, was knowledge of Smith’s wife’s accusations of abuse.
Some have suggested OSU should have punished Meyer more severely. Were he not a coach with a 73-8 record at the university, he might have been fired, it has been said.
The very fact doubts have been expressed should concern OSU officials. Have they indeed treated Meyer with kid gloves because he is so successful? Is keeping the win streak going more important than sending a message that the Buckeye State’s top university will not tolerate failure to act on allegations of domestic abuse?
We make no judgment regarding that beyond this: OSU officials should engage in some serious soul searching. If they find they cannot answer a certain question acceptably, more needs to be done about Meyer.
It is a simple question: Is winning everything?