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Ohio State Suspends Urban Meyer Without Pay

'I followed my heart and not my head'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2018 12:33 AM CDT
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, right, answers questions as athletic director Gene Smith listens during a news conference in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.   (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
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(Newser) – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been punished, but not by the firing he could have faced for failing to report domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Meyer has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the season and has been banned from interacting with Buckeyes players until Sept. 2, ESPN reports. Athletic director Gene Smith will be suspended without pay for 16 days. A 23-page report issued by Ohio State describes "a pattern of troubling behavior" by Zach Smith, including "promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior," drug abuse, and "a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes."

The report states that Meyer and Gene Smith didn't attempt to cover up for Zach Smith, but they "failed to take sufficient management action" after becoming aware in 2015 that police were investigating domestic violence allegations, the AP reports. The report found that after Courtney Smith, Zach Smith's ex-wife, first went to the press, Meyer asked about deleting old messages on his phone. At a press conference Wednesday, Meyer said he had given Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt because his grandfather is former Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, his mentor. "I followed my heart and not my head," Meyer said. (Read more Urban Meyer stories.)

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