Domestic Violence Scandal Shakes Ohio State Football Program

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Avi Kumin was interviewed on Fox 5 DC about the scandal surrounding the Ohio State University football team. Head Coach Urban Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave this week following a report that he was told of domestic violence committed by his Assistant Coach Zach Smith, and did not report it to the university or police. Smith was fired in July after he was served a civil protection order on behalf of his ex-wife. The university is now investigating whether or not Meyer knew about the assaults as early as 2015.

“Maybe he has an explanation, maybe he didn’t understand the severity of the issue, but you’ve got to tell the truth,” explains Mr. Kumin. “Because now there are two phases of the investigation. One, did he understand what was going on and not do anything about it? And two, did he lie to the university?”

Typically, somebody in Meyer’s position is contractually required to take action in such a situation. But even without knowing the details of his contract, Meyer was likely obligated to report Smith’s conduct.

“It’s a reasonable expectation of the employer. You’ve got a situation in which a prominent assistant is alleged to have engaged in repeated acts of violence. The assistant is working with female staff members... and you want your coach to be proactive in that situation to make sure that those people are protected.”

The university is currently investigating what Meyer knew, and when he knew it. Once the facts are compiled, it will have to make a decision on whether to keep their $6 million football coach.