Ohio State sets 14-day timeline for Meyer probe

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer watches as his team competes in the Spring Game at Ohio Stadium.Photo: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State officials released a statement saying the investigation into coach Urban Meyer would be completed in 14 days.

Meanwhile, a number of Ohio State fans are showing support for Meyer both in person and online.

The investigation is focusing on what Meyer knew regarding the history of alleged domestic violence by former assistant coach Zach Smith, who was fired last month. Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave last week as the university put together an investigative team that will look into whether Meyer was aware of Smith's past -- both in 2009 and again in 2015 following an incident with Smith's now ex-wife Courtney Smith.

Smith was fired last month, but Meyer claimed soon thereafter that he had no prior knowledge of the 2015 allegation involving Smith. Meyer later backtracked and apologized for a poor and inaccurate information provided in that press conference appearance, but said he followed protocol regarding his actions.

The school's statement issued Sunday said former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson will serve as chair of the working group, which includes former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart and current university trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate. That working group will direct the work of the investigative team and will assist with communication to the full board on the matter.

Decisions about actions that result from the findings will be made by the president of the university in consultation with the Board of Trustees.

The investigation itself will be led by former Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White, who is senior chair with the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton and is a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

"Ohio State is committed to a thorough and complete investigation," Davidson said in the statement. "We look forward to sharing the results of this investigation and any action the university may take."

The last line of the statement read, "The investigation is expected to be completed within 14 days." It is unclear whether any action will be taken at that time.

Meanwhile, as of Monday morning, more than 23,000 people had signed a digital petition to keep Meyer from being "wrongfully fired," ESPN reported. A rally was also planned to take place outside the stadium.

"This will be a brief rally. Nothing but positive words for our coach," Jeff Hamms, the event's organizer, said in a Facebook post Sunday night. "That's all this is about. This has nothing to do with any of the domestic violence situation with (former) coach (Smith). This is simply to lift up Urban Meyer. That's it."

Some people in Columbus are awaiting more information before deciding how they feel.

"I think it's bigger than football. It's bigger than Urban Meyer," Aghiad Daboul, a sophomore at Ohio State, told ESPN. "It's about the university and the name of the university as a whole. ... If letting go of Urban Meyer is the best thing for the university, and if he truly turned a blind eye to that, then yes, I think he should go."

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