Urban Meyer remains on administrative leave from Ohio State as an independent board investigates his handling of domestic violence allegations against former OSU wide receiver coach Zach Smith. Meyer has now taken to Twitter to speak out for the first time during his leave.
Here in his statement in full:
Perhaps the most important paragraph is halfway through, where he addresses what he knew and what his actions were whenever he knew it.
Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015.
This part can be seen as a gauntlet thrown down to both the independent investigation and, frankly, anyone else digging into this situation. Meyer is bluntly saying he always followed protocol and elevated matters through proper channels.
Later on in the statement, Meyer (somewhat) apologizes for what he said at Big Ten Media Days regarding the situation. Meyer responded to media’s questions on July 24, days after the news first broke.
My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.
Urban Meyer said he didn’t intend "to say anything inaccurate” about Zach Smith incident. He was asked 9 questions about it at B1G Media Days & said: “I know nothing; never had a conversation about that; who would create a story like that & If I (knew) I would have made a change"— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 3, 2018
When considering Meyer’s statement, and how carefully worded it is, there is this to consider.
Urban Meyer's statement seems written with contract law in mind. It denies any grounds that Ohio State could use to fire him with cause. At the same time, it acknowledges his answers to journalists' questions were inadequate--a personal failing that doesn't violate his contract. https://t.co/reaiRXw9yE— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) August 3, 2018
Meyer’s recent contract extension included wiggle room for Ohio State to fire him without paying a buyout that could cost the school up to $38 million.