Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith is taking a week of vacation and is out of the office, according to Ben Johnson, Director of Media and Public Relations.
“He is available to speak with the investigative team. The university is focused on supporting our student-athletes as they prepare for the upcoming semester. We can’t comment further during the pending investigation,” said Johnson on Thursday afternoon in an email.
It’s been more than a week since head football coach Urban Meyer was put on paid administrative leave. On Thursday the university confirmed Meyer is not allowed at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center or any campus building. Meyer also does not have access to his university-issued cellphone, devices, or email. Meyer is also not allowed to communicate with Buckeye players or coaching staff.
Buckeye fans want to know if Meyer will be able to be on the field to coach at the season’s first football game September 1.
The independent I group directing the investigation involving Meyer said their work will be completed within two weeks. That would be by Sunday, August 19th or before.
OSU said decisions about actions based on the findings of the investigation will be made “by the president of the university in consultation with the Board of Trustees.”
The full OSU Board of Trustees doesn’t have a meeting scheduled until August 31. That is the Friday before the first game. Trustees could schedule a special board meeting before that, but so far have not done so.
ABC 6 has reached out to Athletic Director Gene Smith about the probe. So far Smith has been silent about recent scandals coming to light, including the Dr. Richard Strauss investigation and the OSU diver lawsuits.
Smith could be in hot water in the Meyer investigation. Coach Meyer’s statement last week said “I have followed proper reporting protocols and procedures...by elevating the issues to proper channels.”
So fans are asking, does that throw Smith under the bus? What did the AD do with the domestic violence information about assistant coach Zach Smith and his then wife Courtney?
ABC 6 has asked OSU if Smith is also under investigation by the same working group as Urban Meyer, and if Shelley Meyer’s job is also on the line since she is a university employee. So far we don’t have that answer.
Smith was hired as AD in 2005. He kept his job during the memorabilia-tattoo-gate when coach Jim Tressel was fired in 2011.