An attorney who represents Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith lashed out on social media Thursday at the punishment given to his client and Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer.
Rex Elliott said the three-game suspension given to the coach and the 17-day suspension given to Smith was the result of public pressure.
“The country was lathered into a frenzy based on erroneous information and a long delay and OSU needed to appease the lynch mob that had formed as soon as the unproven allegations were made,” Elliott wrote. “As a result, two great men fell on the sword for a University they dearly love.”
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Contacted by The Dispatch, Smith texted that Elliott had posted of his own initiative, not at Smith’s direction. Elliott then texted The Dispatch and said he made his post on a private Facebook page and reiterated that it was strictly his opinion and “not authorized or approved” by Smith or Meyer.
Elliott said investigators had two main tasks: To determine whether Ohio State covered up domestic violence and whether Meyer lied to the media. He said the investigators determined that neither happened.
In truth, the summary of findings report said Meyer was untruthful in denying knowledge of the 2015 allegations against former Buckeyes assistant coach Zach Smith, but it did not conclude that he deliberately lied. The board also found that Gene Smith and Meyer followed some protocols but could have done more.
“The biggest problem in this OSU matter is the rush to judgment and the erroneous reporting of details by some irresponsible media and the amateur reporting of false information on social media,” Elliott wrote.