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Strip clubs, drugs, memory loss: Bulleted list of Urban Meyer investigation

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The long await for Urban Meyer’s fate has finally ended: 3-game suspension. Gene Smith joins Meyer on the time-out bench with an unpaid leave from Gene Smith from August 31 to September 16.

Since the repercussion for mishandling former assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic abuse allegations have been handed down, more details about the investigation have hit the fan.

Here are some key findings, per The Dispatch:

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  • Zach Smith took high school coaches and an unnamed Buckeyes coach to a strip club, spending upwards of $600 of his personal funds, while on an OSU recruiting trip in Florida in May 2014.
  • Meyer heard about the incident but did not know how much was spent at the club and failed to report it to the compliance department.
  • Meyer threatened Smith to fire him if it happened again and required a “morality claus” to be put in coaches’ contracts.
  • Powell police investigated Zach Smith for 15 months regarding domestic violence and cyber offenses against his then wife Courtney Smith that lasted through 2016.
  • OSU’s Title IX compliance officer got wind of the investigation and notified Gene Smith who then notified Meyer at a practice. Upset, Meyer and Gene Smith ordered Zach Smith return from a recruiting trip.
  • Meyer and Gene Smith confronted Zach Smith and told him, “if you hit her, you are fired.”
  • Shelley Meyer said she never told Urban Meyer about the text messages Courtney Smith sent to her about Zach Smith’s abuse in 2015 because she doubted the allegations.
  • Investigators’ reaction: “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.”
  • In the midst of the divorce in 2016, Zach Smith went off the deep end—showing up late for practices and workouts and lying about attending high school recruiting trips.
  • Zach Smith had sex with a secretary of the football program which went unreported.
  • He took sexually explicit photos of himself while at the White House and the football facilities in April 2015 after the team won a national championship.
  • He also had had sex toys delivered to athletics facilities. Meyer and Gene Smith were aware of this.
  • Zach Smith checked into a drug treatment facility in June 2016 for an addiction to a prescription drug to treat ADHD. Meyer advised Smith to check into the facility.
  • Meyer’s lie about knowledge of the 2015 domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith was likely a result of his health, incorrect media report, and confusing text messages from staff.
  • Texts show Meyer was told there was no record of any arrest in 2015, contradicting a media report.
  • He told reporters at the Big Ten Media Day that he was not aware of any incident in 2015, though he actually was.
  • Investigators discovered that Meyer has memory issues and sometimes takes medications that impairs his memory.
  • Upon learning of the initial report from Brett Murphy that Shelley had become aware of Courtney Smith’s allegations, staff member Brian Voltolini linked up with Meyer and together, they worked to delete text messages older than a year from Meyer’s phone.
  • When Meyer turned over his phone on August 2, there were only texts from the last year on it.
  • Investigators found the action of deleting messages “concerning.”
  • The report detailed that Meyer and Gene Smith were both required to report issues such as the allegations against Zach Smith to the compliance department. Meyer simply reporting to Gene Smith was not good enough.
  • Meyer and Smith said that the lack of law enforcement or court action played a part in their decision to not take the Zach Smith allegations to the compliance department.
  • Per the report: “Repeatedly, Zach Smith’s conduct was met with reprimands and warnings by Coach Meyer, but never a written report, never an investigation and no disciplinary action until July 23, 2018. While we do not doubt that Coach Meyer respects women and is dedicated to fostering an environment of respect for women in his program, his apparent blind spot for Zach Smith seems to have impaired his judgment and his management of the behavior of at least one of his assistants.”

Read the full report here.

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Coronavirus

DeWine stalls, strongly encourages Ohioans to wear masks

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In what seems like a Groundhog Day series of press conferences being held with little to no new information, Wednesday evening’s may have taken the cake.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine canceled a COVID-19 update to the state of Ohio and instead called a press conference for today at 5:30 p.m. to address the state of Ohio regarding the “recent increases and spread in coronavirus cases.” 

While many expected an update on the mask mandate or even speculated a second statewide lockdown, no new orders were put into place during DeWine’s announcement. Not surprising, given that any additional lockdowns would threaten the state’s economy and unemployment rates. 

State budgets are being cut at alarming rates causing a trickle-down effect in multiple sectors, while unemployment funds are reaching insolvency. The state would be hard-pressed to bear another lockdown at this point.

Additionally, COVID and quarantine fatigue have struck many Ohioans who are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety, even panic attacks. The CDC has actually released guidelines specific to COVID and quarantine. You can read them here.

DeWine did, however, greatly encourage everyone in Ohio to wear a facial covering over the next four to six weeks and made multiple warning signals that Ohio is at “the most critical point” and is headed down a dangerous path, much like the spike in COVID-19 cases seen in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. Recently in Florida, the sunshine state reported a single-day high of 15,300 new cases. Arizona reported 3,400.

“I will take whatever action necessary to protect the people of the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.

At the time of publication, 3,075 Ohioans have died due to COVID-19. DeWine also mentioned that currently, 1,027 Ohioans were in the hospital due to COVID-19, with 316 in intensive care and 146 on ventilators. 

Ohio has reached a state record of over 1,500 single-day cases reported this week, following the April and May peak of just over 1,100; but the number of cases per day has not reached the Florida pandemic levels.

Influenza, which has often been compared to the symptoms and onset of COVID, hospitalizes an estimated 200,000 people each year in the U.S., according to the Ohio Department of Health website. On average, the site says it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 flu-related deaths annually. Since the first case in the United States was confirmed Jan. 21, COVID has affected nearly 3.5 million Americans and caused 138,000 deaths.

DeWine also read a passage from the heavily-quoted book The Great Influenza by John Barry, which warned the world that “this is our second chance. We won’t get a third. If we don’t get the growth of this pandemic under control [before winter, it will be a] disaster that dwarfs the situation today.”

While no new measures were announced, DeWine said any future orders would be a “discussion for another time.” DeWine applauded initial efforts by Ohioans to flatten the curve

An increase in testing (87 percent) is a factor in why we’re seeing a spike in cases, but it doesn’t explain the nearly 200 percent increase in the number of new cases that DeWine mentioned in his briefing.

The COVID-19 situation has been evolving rapidly over the past few weeks. An alert map was created to instruct those experiencing high levels of COVID-19 to follow mask-wearing mandates. No updates to the alert map were made on Wednesday during DeWine’s briefing.

Do you think a second lockdown is imminent? Will a stricter statewide mask mandate be ordered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Coronavirus

Gov. Mike DeWine to deliver address on COVID-19 spike

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has called a press conference for 5:30 p.m. to discuss the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the state. 

DeWine canceled his typical Tuesday afternoon press conference only hours before it was to be held, then sent out a release informing the media of the Wednesday evening briefing, during which he said he would talk about the "current state of the coronavirus pandemic and the recent increases in cases and virus spread."

Right now the three-week average in Ohio is 1,041 cases, 80 hospitalizations, and 16 deaths for every 21 days due to the disease, according to the Department of Health

Tuesday, five people in Ohio died, including an unnamed Franklin county boy, who had yet to reach age 20. 

Franklin is one of 12 counties where it’s currently required for people out in public to wear a mask

Meanwhile, people who are traveling from Ohio to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are being asked to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. 

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Buckeyes back to work

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Ohio State athletics is permitting athletes from seven different sports to resume voluntary workouts after a pause due to an outbreak of COVID-19. 

Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade heads into a workout

The university said that all athletes were tested Monday before determining that the resumption was safe. 

“These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete,” said Athletics Director Gene Smith. “Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share decisions as we move forward.”

The Buckeyes have refused to say how many athletes have tested positive, but longtime beat reporter Tim May had said it was fewer than ten. 

OSU teams with athletes currently working out on campus are football, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

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