Ohio State University announced Friday that the investigation into head football coach Urban Meyer’s response to domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith will be completed Sunday, meeting the 14-day timetable the school set for itself when announcing details of the probe.
The investigators then will prepare a report, which will be delivered to the investigatory committee next week, Ohio State announced.
After the investigative report has been received, the university will call a board of trustees meeting next week. President Michael V. Drake will confer with the board in executive session about the findings of the investigation. The university must give public notice of the meeting at least 24 hours in advance, as required by Ohio law.
Drake will announce his decision about Meyer's future after "appropriate time for consideration" and deliberations with the board, the university's announcement said.
While trustees will hear the investigatory report, Ohio State has said that any final decision on Meyer will be made by Drake. A decision would not be subject to a vote by trustees in public session.
Ohio State’s training camp began Aug. 3 and its football season starts Sept. 1. Meyer is on paid administrative leave and barred from any contact with the team. Ryan Day is serving as the team’s acting head coach.
>> Read more | Complete coverage of the Urban Meyer investigation
Drake, in a radio interview on WOSU’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher” Thursday, did not speculate on possible outcomes of the investigation.
“We can imagine the world of possibility,” Drake said. “What we’re thinking of is really doing a good investigation. I’m pleased that, in consultation with the board, we brought in a really good team. There’s a great deal of interest in this investigation, so we wanted to make sure we had really good information.”
The investigation is being led by Mary Jo White, formerly the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is being conducted by the New York law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton. Former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson is the committee chairwoman.
Fisher asked Drake about Davidson’s age — she’s 90 — and he said he wasn’t concerned about that.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“What we were looking for was citizens who brought experience and were as unbiased as we could find and who brought with them the respect of their careers and their wisdom, and she’s a perfect choice for that, and we’re really pleased she was able to do that,” he said.
The committee was tasked with gathering information about Meyer’s handling of the Smith matter. At Big Ten media days, Meyer denied knowledge in 2015 of accusations against Smith, who was not charged. Meyer later said he had reported the allegations to the proper authorities.
Asked by Fisher if lying to the media was grounds for firing, Drake replied, “What we’re doing is an investigation to try to find out exactly what happened, why, what the context was, etc. I’m going to wait until I know those things before I make conclusions. I’ve been doing my best possible job to keep an open mind.”
Fisher asked whether athletic director Gene Smith might also be a subject of the investigation. Zach Smith said the AD was the one who summoned him home from a recruiting trip in October 2015 after hearing of the allegations against him.
“We’ll say the team is investigating this particular set of circumstances,” Drake said. “I don’t know all the questions they are asking or what they’re going about. I’m waiting until they come forward with information, and then we’ll try to use that information to make the best decisions we can.”