Urban Meyer has been on the hot seat this summer, as he faces investigation from his university over his knowledge over a sexual abuse allegation within his previous coaching staff. As it turns out, his contract to the university may ultimately lead to his exit.
The head coach of OSU recently had his contract amended in April to include specific guidelines for being able to report allegations to the organization. This includes the players and the staff of Ohio State. Back when the allegations occurred, Meyer failed to do so, and that decision may wind up being fatal for his tenure with the Buckeyes.
Barbara Osborne, a UNC law professor that specializes in sports administration. She spoke on the fact of Meyer’s tenure.
“By including the legal language that’s required, they’re making sure that the coach actually has notice of what that law might be,” said Osborne. “By including it specifically in the contract, you avoid any question of what you knew or should have known, and then it really clearly provides the university with the option for termination for cause.”
This means that the ball is now in the Ohio States board of trustees’ court. They have the decision to terminate Meyer, because he violated the rules of his contract. By withholding information about Zach Smith’s allegations in 2015, he has put his job on the line.
Ohio State also has a university policy that entitles that employees who hold the title of a supervisor on the campus (which includes coaches) to be held to a higher standard and to report allegations of misconduct. They are to do so because their position has a sense of “heightened responsibility ” that they bring to the table as leadership positions they hold within the university.
Meyer would lie about his whereabouts of the incident in 2015. He believed that the whole situation would never be able to escalate to a level of this magnitude, but is now facing the consequences as the allegations have re-surfaced this summer.
The contract language for the one that Meyer currently holds is not anything special. Coaches from non-Big Ten schools have similar terms and statements. They all follow the path of Oregon State’s policies, which try to create a harassment-free environment through the facet of sports at the University.
“Depending on what the contract language is,” Osborne explained, “if that clause is in the contract and the coach fails to perform, generally a failure to perform duties is cause for termination.”