Coaches putting winning above all else is part of their job. We are not living in a Blue Chips world where winning the “right way” is the most important thing. They have to win at all costs or they’ll be without a job, plain and simple. Coaches doing whatever it takes has often tiptoed an ambiguous moral line that is crossed more often than not. This is nothing new, and has long been a blemish throughout not just college, but all sports. However, we’re in an age where everything comes into the light sooner or later, and it often comes at a huge personal toll for the people on the receiving end of this line. The Baylor victims, Larry Nassar victims, and countless others have suffered long and hard at the hands of people in power in the college sports world. Urban Meyer is not the first to have crossed the line, and he will not be the last, but this is becoming an epidemic that leaves a black eye on all involved.
Between 2015 and today, Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith has been accused of domestic violence, and Urban Meyer allegedly knew about it and covered it up. This is disgusting, abhorrent behavior and must be punished severely. Meyer covered these incidents up because he believed that holding on to Smith would give his team the best chance to win. Yes, it is his job to win, but coaches have other responsibilities that are often shunned to bring winning to the forefront. They are supposed to be leaders, role models, and disciplinarians. Urban Meyer has shown that he is none of these. His punishment, as of now, is PAID administrative leave, which means that he will still receive paychecks despite all that he has done in covering up these allegations against Smith. In what world is this actual punishment? And what is the worst case scenario? He gets fired and lands a cushy job somewhere else in a few years? Will it even take years for another program to hire somebody like him, should these allegations be proven?
The NCAA has often made their most severe punishments of teams, coaches, and players the revoking of wins, trophies, championships, etc. This is not good enough. Everyone remembers Louisville winning the National Championship, everyone remembers Ohio State winning the Big Ten. These things happened and you cannot simply try to erase them and call it good enough. This is not some breaking of a code or NCAA bylaw. This is breaking the law. If these allegations against Meyer are true, he should never be allowed to coach again, and that’s just from an NCAA standpoint. To deter coaches, players, and administration alike, there needs to be something more severe. Because this is no longer a bumpy road to travel. This is more than a metaphorical black eye. This is a disgrace and unacceptable, and the NCAA itself needs to be held accountable. At what cost must winning come to that people are willing to hide domestic abuse or rape allegations?
I don’t know enough about the law or NCAA bylaws or anything to determine appropriate punishment, all I know is that whatever the current system is, it is not good enough. The NCAA needs to change and make sure that the winning of championships or games is not worth hurting real people. That winning cannot simply brush off very serious accusations. Because if this continues to happen, which it will, then there is no moral line to cross. That line will have already been long destroyed. I hope the wins were worth it.