Odds Vary on Future of Urban Meyer at Ohio State

Friday, August 3, 2018 2:15 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 2:15 PM UTC

Urban Meyer is one of the best college football coaches ever. There’s no disputing that. But will the three-time national champion keep his job at Ohio State?

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You had to know that here at SBR we were going to eventually address the whole Urban Meyer situation that rocked not just the college football community but the entire sports world this week. We aren’t going to go into the details here about whether Meyer knew or not that his long-time former assistant coach Zach Smith was abusing his wife Courtney for years.

We aren’t going to debate whether Meyer blatantly lied about what he knew during the recent Big Ten Media Days. Or whether Meyer kept Smith on his staff (before finally firing him last month) through all of this because he was the grandson of former Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, who was a mentor to Meyer.

Does it seem like Meyer knew about the long-term abuse and lied in the wake of a report by former ESPN college football writer Brett McMurphy? (BTW, welcome to the future of journalism: McMurphy broke the story on his Facebook page.) It sure does, because Meyer’s wife and a few other of his close confidants 100 percent did know, but there are two sides to every story.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there’s no way Meyer can keep his job if it is proven he knew of the abuse and did nothing. Not only would that be morally repugnant, but as Smith’s boss Meyer was legally obligated to report it to his bosses at Florida and then Ohio State. It’s what you can prove, not what you think, though.

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Undercover Interviews With Ex-Florida Football Players Reveal Alleged Verbal/Physical Abuse Under Urban Meyerhttps://t.co/9YDKNWWkx7 pic.twitter.com/5TN9IoqIa3

— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 3, 2018

Meyer has been put on paid administrative leave and Ohio State has announced that a special, independent six-person group will direct the investigation into Meyer. The group will be composed of three current members of the board of trustees, which seems like a conflict of interest. The other three aren’t affiliated with the school: former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

If we were talking about the head football coach at somewhere like Kansas, then we aren’t even having this discussion. Meyer would have been fired immediately. But he’s the second-most successful coach of his generation with three national championships, two at Florida and one at Ohio State. He and Nick Saban (LSU & Alabama) are the only two FBS head coaches to win national titles at two different schools. The 2018 Buckeyes are loaded as usual and ranked third in the Amway Coaches Preseason Top 25.

Depending on which of SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks you check, Meyer is either favored to be fired or to be the Buckeyes’ coach this year. Bovada has Meyer NOT being the coach for the team’s Sept. 1 game vs. Oregon State as the -215 favorite. It’s key to read that statement exactly: It’s not that Meyer is the coach this season but just for Week 1. Maybe this investigation drags into the season, although that seems unlikely. Perhaps Meyer is suspended for a few games or the season. That he will be on the sideline vs. the Beavers is +175. OSU opened at -38 for that game but has dropped as low as -34 at some books with this news.

BetOnline words its prop differently: Who will be Ohio State’s coach at the start of 2019 spring practice? Meyer is the +250 favorite, followed by Iowa State coach Matt Campbell at +450 and current OSU interim head coach/offensive coordinator Ryan Day at +500. Some other interesting names: Lane Kiffin (+1000), Brian Kelly (+1400), Bob Stoops (+1400), Tom Herman (+2000), Bill Belichick (+3300), Jim Harbaugh (+3300) and Jim Tressel (+5000).

Obviously, some of those names above are simply for shock value. Harbaugh is a Michigan Man through and through and wouldn't coach Ohio State if you gave him Australia. The retired Stoops, an Ohio native, is interesting. Herman, a former OSU offensive coordinator, isn't leaving Texas. Do you really think Belichick has the patience for college kids? Kiffin is too controversial. Kelly could be fired at Notre Dame after this season if the Irish struggle.

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