Ohio State closes ranks as Meyer probe adds new scandal

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The key is ... if the allegations are true.

Ohio State placed football coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave on Wednesday evening in the wake of reports that showed widespread knowledge of domestic abuse allegations by Courtney Smith, the wife of former assistant coach Zach Smith, by those around the program.

Sitting down for an interview published by Stadium on Wednesday, Courtney Smith said, "I do believe [Meyer] knew, and instead he chose to help the abuser and enable the abuser and believe whatever story Zach was telling everybody". Annual studies from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus list it as college football's most valuable brand and, according to the Columbus Dispatch, the school trademarked the name "Urban Meyer" in 2015.

Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his then-pregnant wife in 2009 while he was a graduate assistant on Meyer's staff at Florida.

Among Shelley Meyer's text messages to Courtney Smith was one from 2015 in which Shelley wrote of women being victimized by abusive spouses. Meyer-one of the most celebrated coaches in college sports-is officially, stunningly, on ice.

If Urban Meyer knew of these allegations all along and didn't take the appropriate actions, he can, and should, lose his job.

Smith was - and should have been - fired last week. Probably. But like it or not, the world was a different place at that time.

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The fact remains, Smith has not been convicted of any domestic violence issues.

Ohio State is investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades.

But morally, Meyer failed big-time.

If Ohio State learned of the 2015 incident - and Smith remained on staff - it also is a big-time moral failure by the university and athletics department.

Ryan Day, who has been the team's offensive coordinator, will be acting head football coach while Meyer is on leave.

It remains to be seen if the right thing was done in 2015.