OSU President: Urban Meyer Investigation Will Be 'Finished When It's Finished'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2018

File-This July 24, 2018, file photo shows Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer speaking at the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football Media Days in Chicago. The Big Ten East has been called the toughest division in college football, and that’s expected to be the case again this season even with the uncertainty surrounding Meyer and his defending conference champion Ohio State Buckeyes.  (AP Photo/Annie Rice, File)
Annie Rice/Associated Press

Ohio State's investigation into head football coach Urban Meyer was initially expected to be completed within two weeks, but the university has no plans to rush matters in order to meet that deadline.

Ohio State president Michael Drake said during an interview with WOSU (h/t ESPN's Dan Murphy) on Thursday that the investigation "will be finished when it's finished."

"There is a great deal of interest in this investigation," Drake said. "We wanted to make sure we had really good information, and there is time pressure. We wanted to have that information as quickly as possible. ...The most important thing is to get good information so we can make the right decisions going forward."

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 as his role in keeping former ex-Buckeyes receivers coach Zach Smith employed amid domestic violence allegations came into question.

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

Smith was fired in July after a judge granted the coach's ex-wife, Courtney Smith, a protection order. Zach Smith had also been accused of domestic violence in both 2009 and 2015.

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Meyer said at the time that the decision to part ways with Smith, who is the grandson of Meyer's mentor Earl Bruce, was a "very tough call." He also initially denied knowing about any sort of 2015 incident involving Smith.

After college football reporter Brett McMurphy published text messages and photos from Courtney Smith, Meyer was placed on administrative leave as the school looked into the matter.

He later clarified his role in the situation, acknowledging that he was aware of the incident and had reported it:

Courtney Smith and Zach Smith each later sat down for an in-depth interviews.

Ohio State has formed a special independent board to investigate the situation.

With a little more than two weeks until their season opener, the Buckeyes would undoubtedly like clarity heading into their 2018 campaign—one that was expected to have them in contention for a national championship.

However, Drake made it clear that the top priority is to gather all of the facts before making an informed decision. That means there won't be pressure to meet the two-week timetable.

Offensive coordinator Ryan Day is filling in for Meyer as interim head coach.