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Why isn’t Gene Smith on paid administrative leave at Ohio State?

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Gene Smith must be included in the Ohio State investigation, so why is he not on paid leave? (Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports)

Question Of The Day

Why isn’t Gene Smith on paid administrative leave at Ohio State?

The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics on the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today on Gene Smith and the Ohio State investigation? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Let’s start with the usual declaimer: All of the facts have not been determined yet at Ohio State, and the independent investigation still has about 12 days left until a conclusion can be reached. But given what happened with Urban Meyer going immediately on paid administrative leave last week after Courtney Smith’s bombshell interview, it’s fair to wonder why Gene Smith hasn’t been given similar treatment. After all, as Meyer’s boss and the head of the athletic department, Gene Smith would have been aware of the details in the crucial 2015 incidents and should have played a significant role in the eventual decision to keep Zach Smith on staff for nearly three years.

If Ohio State believes there was any wrongdoing with the way the situation played out, the investigation must include some of the same questions for Gene Smith that have come up with Meyer. When did he know about the allegations of abuse, what did he know about it and why did the Buckeyes feel comfortable keeping him on the staff and representing the program for two full seasons after Gene Smith supposedly pulled the wide receivers coach off the recruiting trail? This is again likely all going to circle back to the absence of any criminal charges against Zach Smith, but if Ohio State felt the need to remove Meyer from the equation until it had all the information, Gene Smith should probably be on the shelf right along with him.

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Urban Meyer is on paid administrative leave at Ohio State. (Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s difficult to see at this point, though, how the ultimate fates of the athletic director and the coach aren’t tied together. If Meyer is cleared to coach, the university will need to have been 100-percent certain that all the protocols were followed and there wasn’t enough evidence to support a firing for Zach Smith three years ago. And if Meyer did his job properly like he indicated he did in his letter on Friday, then his boss surely must have given the go-ahead to proceed and not had concerns that the future of the program was being jeopardized.

This might still be venturing too close to a prediction of the outcome, but the early read here is that Ohio State isn’t likely to face a situation where only one of those two key figures survive. That, of course, could certainly change, and now is another good time for a reminder of that caveat about letting all the facts come out before making a judgment.

But since the two appear likely be linked together, it just feels a little odd that only one of those guys is currently away from his job on paid administrative leave.

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DC SensenbrennerMeatchicken SuxWinn ShoalBo CooneyBuckeye Fan from up north Recent comment authors
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Brunstar
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Brunstar

I still don’t get it. Urban Meyer and Gene Smith followed protocol and let the Powell Police Department do its job, and so how it’s their fault?

Bo Cooney
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Bo Cooney

So in the age of the #metoo movement, not to be insensitive, but there was no arrests, no charges filed, and EVERYONE just assumes that Ms. Smith is telling the truth and Zach and Urban and the school are somehow responsible for her suffering. Honestly, it smells to me like someone wants some revenge, and to get paid.

Buckeye Fan from up north
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Buckeye Fan from up north

Football is finally here !!!
Joy !

Buckeye Phan
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Buckeye Phan

Enquiring minds want to know.

Buckeye Fan from up north
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Buckeye Fan from up north

Agree Brunstar. As for Smith, he has to remain in place because he has a whole lot of sports to run and i just do not believe they could really take him. Out of duty and keep things going. And the focus is on Urban at this point also. Urban has ten or so coaches to pick up the slack, i do not believe they have that in place for Smiths workload. My sister in law is in upper management in banking, and she often times has 300 emails alone banked Including everyday business. I would believe Gene Smith with… Read more »

DC Sensenbrenner
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DC Sensenbrenner

Uh, It was announced that Gene went on vacation, So much for the theory is too important not to be put on administrative leave.

Meatchicken Sux
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Meatchicken Sux

?

Winn Shoal
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Winn Shoal

Eleven Warriors started this dumpster fire. [“Zach Smith ARRESTED on Criminal Trespass”]. Now they are blaming McMurphy for the whole mess. LOL

Brunstar
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Brunstar

Yes, I called them out on the headline and started a thread asking them to change it. That thread was deleted after 15 seconds. Clickbait headline.

Winn Shoal
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Winn Shoal

I think Smith will sue McMurphy and Eleven Warriors. Used to like 11W, but they’ve become arrogant beyond belief.

They pretend to have forums, but they have a group of regulars who drive off people who dare to disagree with their singular point of view.

I wonder what kind of access they’ll get at the WHAC now. Since they’ve been at the front of the torch & pitchfork crew.

Meatchicken Sux
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Meatchicken Sux

Because he is black, and the school could get a racism claim as well as coveing up for a wife batterer

Meatchicken Sux
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Meatchicken Sux

Too bad Jon Gruden took the Raiders job, he would have come to the Buckeyes after urban gets fired being an Ohio Guy…..Hey, maybe we could steal Luke Fickell from Cincy..LOL!! With Schiano being a known player beater, and Kevin Wilson being a known player beater, guess rosey cheeks Day gets the nod. What about long term? Man I hope Urban gets his job back…this is freaking depressing. How bout Hue Jackson after the NFL world finds out early that a mentally deranged 5-11 QB in Baker Mayfield wont last 5 weeks into the season? What about bringing john Cooper… Read more »

Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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