Thursday notes and links:
The big, all-day story involved Ohio State and head football coach Urban Meyer, which culminated in an awkward and unsatisfying press conference around 9 p.m.
Ultimately, Meyer is suspended for Ohio State’s first three games of the season, all three non-conference games, and athletic director Gene Smith is suspended basically one paycheck for their handling of domestic abuse allegations against now former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer never once apologized to Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, saying only, “I’m just sorry we’re in this situation.”
He also denied that he knew about the text messages that Courtney Smith sent Meyer’s wife alleging the abuse.
The report also states that Meyer deleted text messages on his phone that were more than a year old.
Thanks to his 73-8 record and one national title in Columbus, Meyer remains the Ohio State football coach. It’s another example of winning matters more than anything else. Also, coaches have way, way too much power.
Writes Heather Dinich of ESPN: “Meyer said he was not aware of his wife’s text messages at the time. As a wife, I don’t believe this for one second. The investigators didn’t either: ‘Given the closeness of their relationship and Shelley’s concerns, we believe it is likely that Shelley and Urban Meyer had at least some communication about these allegations in late 2015 and were concerned about them, although both had doubts about the credibility of Courtney’s claims ...’”
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated: After the lawyered-up statement portion of Ohio State’s press conference concluded Wednesday night, Ohio State President Michael Drake uttered the most honest sentences of the entire affair in response to a question as to why it took 10 hours of deliberation for Drake and Ohio State’s Board of Trustees to decide to suspend football coach Urban Meyer and Athletic Director Gene Smith. ‘This is one of those circumstances where there is no right answer.’”
Pat Forde of Yahoo: “When you have a .901 winning percentage and a recent national championship ring, it can empower a man. It can excuse a lot of other stuff. It can enable a man to keep his job despite significant scandal and embarrassment within his program. It can help a man get a pass for keeping a seriously troubled employee on his staff — an employee accused multiple times of beating his wife, an employee whose behavior prompted the big winner’s own wife to text these three words: ‘He scares me.’”
Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer: “Those who held up Urban Meyer as a paragon of virtue were as naïve as those currently ripping him and TOSU for what they see as too light a punishment. Meyer is a football coach, a very good football coach. He’s like almost every other football coach: A bit full of himself, a bit full of It. Able to charm like a politician and arm-twist like a CEO. Able to craft an image pleasing to his followers, able to dissemble when that image falls short of reality.”
Tweet from USA Today’s Dan Wolken: “HOW DID HE NOT GET FIRED”
Last but not least, Zach Smith’s attorney released a statement attacking the victim.
To the links:
▪ Mark Story of the Herald-Leader opens up his mailbag to discuss the checkerboard uniform debate. Personally, I don’t care for the checkerboards. Never have, never will. Too Tennessee for me.
▪ I write that no matter the quarterback, Kentucky’s offense should be ready to roll this season. I reference one of my new favorite podcasts, “Move The Sticks” with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks. You should check that out.
▪ You should also check out the podcast I did with our own Jennifer Smith, wrapping up the unofficial end of Kentucky football’s training camp. Classes began Wednesday at UK. The football team gets back to the practice field on Thursday. The opener is Sept. 1 against visiting Central Michigan.
▪ And yes, I know, Kentucky football fans are upset with me for saying Big Blue Nation is thinking about the Kentucky-Duke basketball game on Nov. 6.
▪ Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader has a clever lead on his story about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee’s decision to no longer use the RPI in its selection metrics.
▪ Fletcher Page of the Courier-Journal writes on Kentucky natives Kash Daniel, Drake Jackson and Landon Young playing key roles on the 2018 UK football team. All three are starters.
▪ Lucas Aulbach of the Courier-Journal reports on Louisville’s new alternative logo. It is, shall we say, different.
▪ Chris Leach of the Kentucky Kernel writes on Caitlyn Cooper of the UK volleyball team, who is making the transition from junior college star to major college player. Kentucky is ranked No. 5 nationally in the preseason.
▪ Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel explains why Central Florida is No. 1 in his preseason top 25. Mike argues that the Knights are the only unbeaten team left over from last season.
▪ Mickey Griffin of the Montgomery Advertiser thinks Alabama will name Jalen Hurts as its starting quarterback. Hurts has been a battle for the starting job with Tua Tagovailoa for the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
▪ Blue Gold News reports that West Virginia gave its players rings for making the Sweet 16 of last season’s NCAA Tournament. And people knock participation trophies.