Thursday's football: Meyer probe cost Ohio State $1 million

Detroit News wire services
Ohio State says the August investigation that led to a three-game suspension of football coach Urban Meyer cost the university $1 million, twice the amount originally requested for it.

Columbus, Ohio — The investigation that led to a three-game suspension of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer cost the university $1 million, twice the amount originally requested for it, the school said Thursday.

The original $500,000 amount “was preliminary and did not represent the total anticipated cost,” spokesman Benjamin Johnson said Thursday. He said the school had no further comment about the bill.

Johnson confirmed that OSU paid law firm Debevoise and Plimpton last week for the investigation.

Meyer retired as coach this week after defeating Washington 28-23 in the Rose Bowl, citing “cumulative events” including pain from headaches caused by an arachnoid cyst in his brain.

He turned over the program to coach Ryan Day, who led Ohio State when Meyer was suspended before the season opener after an investigation led by a former federal prosecutor.

The investigators concluded Meyer mishandled repeated professional and behavioral problems from now-fired assistant coach Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence. Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith were suspended for their handling of Smith, who is the grandson of Meyer mentor Earle Bruce.

Smith denied abusing his wife. He wasn’t charged with domestic violence.

The $1 million for the public university to pay Debevoise and Plimpton was approved in mid-December by the state Controlling Board as part of a larger request dealing with legal expenses for state entities, said John Charlton, a spokesman for the Office of Budget and Management, of which the board is a part.

The contract had a $1 million cap on fees, said Dan Tierney, a spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which provides legal counsel for the public university.

Despite the stain of the investigation, Meyer hangs up his whistle with a mostly glowing legacy at Ohio State, where his record was 82-9 over the past seven years.

He won’t be a stranger around campus as he takes on new roles as an assistant athletic director and an instructor in a “Leadership and Character” class for the business school.

Ticket demand plummets

Demand for tickets to college football’s national title game is at an all-time low, as travel costs and match-up fatigue weigh on fans of Alabama and Clemson.

Prices for tickets to Monday’s College Football Playoff title game in Santa Clara, California, have dropped more than 50 percent since last week, according to SeatGeek. The cheapest ticket available Thursday afternoon was $157, while the average resale price was $566.

That’s the lowest SeatGeek has seen in the final’s five-year history, according to spokesman Chris Leyden. Last year’s game, held in Atlanta between Georgia and Alabama, had an average resale price of $2,969 on the preceding Thursday.

This is the fourth time in the last four years that the University of Alabama has faced Clemson University in the playoffs, including two championships in the past three years. Both schools are more than 2,300 miles away from Santa Clara.

Extra points

Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has been hired as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator by new Ohio State coach Ryan Day.

... Longtime Johns Hopkins University coach Jim Margraff, 58, who guided the Blue Jays to the Division III semifinals for the first time a month ago, died suddenly Wednesday at home. Officials didn’t release a cause.