Trust Not in Man…Even Urban Meyer

by | 2 Aug, 2018 | 0 comments

If Urban Meyer lied, Ohio State ought fire him immediately.

Make a bold statement. The Institution, the game, it’s bigger than any one man, even one of the winningest active coaches. (73-8 record at Ohio State with a national championship, two Big Ten titles, two College Football Playoff appearances and annual dominance over archival Michigan)

He is a legendary man.

He is a man…a fallible one. Just like you. Just like me.

I’m reminded of the Psalms:

Put not your trust in princes,
          in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
                                                           Psalm 146:3

What if?

Just once, I’d like to hear something like this when a person of renown is caught up in a transgression.

“You know, I’ve transgressed. I’ve violated my ethics, my principles, the good faith of this institution, and the fans. As such, I hereby and immediately resign from my position as XXXX. I also request that any severance package or contractual obligation be nullified. Based upon the nature of my transgression, I will accept no further compensation from this institution.”

I don’t recall hearing anything like this.

Even more, I’d love to see a man self-admit before being caught. Can you imagine if Coach Meyer had come to the press the day after the Big Ten media day with a confession.

“You know, I wasn’t quite honest with you guys yesterday…please forgive me.”

Does anyone have a conscience anymore?

My Beloved Buckeyes

For a second, just a second, this was hard to write. That alone should be indicting enough.

I love the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I won’t say that I bleed Scarlet and Gray. Maybe I sweat it.

My brother attended The Ohio State University. It’s a family school, though I was not privileged enough to attend.

I love Buckeye football. I love the Sweater Vest and Beanie Wells. I love Braxton and A.J. Hawk. I love the Bosa(s) and Holy Buckeye. I love Script Ohio and the Shoe.

Several years ago I had to take a step back, do some self-analysis. At some point, the fate of tOSU football team became closely intertwined with my mood, my emotions. When they won, all was well with the world. When they lost, my mood turned sour. I actually allowed a game played by kids to determine my emotions, to affect things between me and my spouse even. Silly, right?

I was even following recruiting, allowing the decisions of 18-year-old boys to drive my emotions. Even more ridiculous, embarrassing.

I put the genie back in the box, but the temptation is always there.

Will people fall on their swords for Urban?

The Crime

Though I obviously don’t have all of the facts, it seems that Coach Meyer knew his assistant was beating his wife in 2015 and made no move, and then lied about it to the press this week. There was a history of abuse dating back to at least 2009, so it wasn’t a new thing.

The other coaches’ wives knew. Shelley Meyer knew.

This begs a few obvious questions.

If Mrs. Meyer knew, did she tell her husband? Her texts with Courtney Smith seem to indicate that she did. And if she did and he took no action, how did explain that to his wife? If my wife knew that one of my men was beating his wife and she told me and I did nothing, she would probably demand an explanation at some point.

Is this really that hard?

Zach Smith may be a good coach, but he’s far from irreplaceable. It’s not like the fate of the team hinged upon him. And it’s not like hundreds of men wouldn’t be waiting in line to apply for the job.

And he was roughing up his wife. I would’ve fired any of my officers for such conduct.

Is this really that hard?

Principle Matters

Let’s stop pretending that principles matter.

Ohio State football is a machine, a lucrative machine. Last year it generated $57 million in revenue. The budget for Ohio State’s athletic department itself is over $100 million. For reference, that’s larger than the GDP of several smaller nations, depending upon your source.

It is a machine and Urban Meyer is its cash cow.

Ohio State has perhaps the largest and most rabid fanbase in sports and they love their Buckeyes to a fault and demand wins. Just ask Isaiah Prince after his disastrous game against Penn State in 2016.

Urban Meyer wins. He generates revenue. End of discussion.

I’m reminded a bit of the Penn State fiasco. I’ll resist comparing Jerry Sandusky’s crimes with Zach Smith’s. Both are heinous in their own right. What I will compare is the response. At some point, Joe Paterno knew. He, along with a few other members of the administration, knew that Jerry Sandusky was raping young boys but hey, they had “a football season to worry about.”

They won games, and that’s what counts.

Will my beloved Buckeyes put themselves in this category?

Will rabid Ohio State fans defend Coach Meyer as rabid Penn State fans defended Joe Paterno?

Fallibility

Who cares about the National Championships?

Who cares about 85 yards through the heart of the south.

This is bigger than all of that.

A woman was beaten, roughed up by the one man she should’ve been able to trust with her very life, the man who should’ve loved her as Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25) Let’s forget football and consider that this seems like a systemic issue. This poor woman suffered at the hands of her husband for years.

Urban Meyer likely knew. He had the chance to act and did not.

Urban Meyer is a man, a fallible man.

We can be disappointed when a man falls, but we mustn’t be surprised. Men fall every day, common men, everyday men. Urban’s fall just happens to be visible, his sins on display for all to see.

On the other hand, we should not revel in them or delight in his fall…even if you’re a sorry Michigan fan. Remember what has actually happened here. Would we delight that Coach Meyer’s inaction possibly contributed to further violence against this woman?

He is the face of a program, an institution. Mothers and fathers charge the care of their sons to him. He is a leader, responsible for everything that his program does, or fails to do. He failed to act.

Now, Ohio state has a chance to act.

I pray that they will gird up their loins and act like men.

If—and that’s a huge if—these allegations prove true, they must fire Urban Meyer. It will be a win for everyone involved. Can you imagine the message if tomorrow, they released the following statement:

“Effective immediately, Urban Meyer is no longer the head coach of the Ohio State University. We cherish his commitment to this institution and all that he has given, but we cherish our values more. Beat Michigan.”

O-H!

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Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

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Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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