Ohio State president says Urban Meyer investigation might last more than 14 days

Aug 17, 2018

Think this weekend marks the end of the Urban Meyer investigation at Ohio State one way or another? 

Maybe not. 

On Aug. 6, a team of lawyers led by former prosecutor Mary Jo White began looking into how Meyer, the head coach of the Buckeyes, handled allegations assistant coach Zach Smith abused his wife. 

At the time, the university announced it hoped to have the investigation wrapped up within 14 days. When it is over, university president Dr. Michael Drake will consult with the OSU Board of Trustees to decide what actions to take. 

>>RELATED: A timeline of events

With day 14 coming Sunday, anticipation has been building for a decision to be coming no later than Monday, but Drake told WOSU radio the 14-day window was a “projected goal.” 

“It will be finished when it is finished,” Drake said. “The most important thing is to get good information so we can make the right decisions going forward.” 

Meyer was placed on leave August 1 after a report he knew of Smith’s being investigated for domestic abuse in 2015. 

The head coach said two days later he had followed all protocols at the time and looked forward to being reunited with his team, which is going through training camp under the direction of interim coach Ryan Day. 

Not much information has leaked out about the investigation so far, although attorneys for Zach Smith and his ex-wife, Courtney, both announced this week their clients have spoken to the investigative team. 

Drake sidestepped a question about whether or not Meyer’s admission he botched the handling of questions about Smith’s past during Big Ten Media Days in July would have any effect on his job status.

"What we're doing is an investigation to try to find out exactly what happened, why, what the context was, etc.," Drake said. "I'm going to wait until I know those things before I make conclusions. I'm doing my best possible job to keep an open mind. And, as I said, stay tuned.” 

He also declined to say if OSU director of athletics Gene Smith was under scrutiny by the investigative team. 

Zach Smith told ESPN on August 3 he had talked to both Meyer and Gene Smith about the allegations in 2015, at which time Powell, Ohio, police investigated accusations he abused his then-wife. Charges ultimately were not pressed.

>>RELATED: What is Meyer allowed to do while on leave?

"I will say that the team is investigating this particular set of circumstances,” Drake said. “I don't know all the questions they're asking or how they're going about it. I'm waiting until they come forward with information and we'll try to use that information to make the best decisions we can.” 

Ohio State is set to kick off the season two weeks from Saturday — Sept. 1 — against Oregon State at Ohio Stadium.