Columbus, Ohio — An Ohio State University trustee who thought football coach Urban Meyer deserved more than a three-game suspension and resigned from the board over it said Thursday that he was alone in advocating a stiffer penalty when trustees discussed the matter.
Former board chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth resigned after Ohio State suspended Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith last week following a two-week investigation, which found they had tolerated bad behavior for years from a now-fired assistant coach also accused of but not charged with domestic violence.
Wadsworth told the New York Times on Thursday that he felt Meyer hadn’t demonstrated “high-integrity behavior” and that the findings of the investigation “raised an issue of standards, values – not how many games someone should be suspended for.”
The findings included that Meyer should have told university officials about domestic violence allegations made against the assistant in 2015 and that Meyer intentionally misled reporters about what he knew when asked about the matter this summer. Trustees met to discuss those findings on Aug. 22.
Wadsworth told the newspaper he left the daylong meeting at lunch, learned of President Michael Drake’s resulting decision after it was publicized, and resigned that night.
He wouldn’t comment further about that move when reached by The Associated Press. He also isn’t sharing others details about the trustees’ private discussions on the matter, and no other members of the board have done so.
In a statement Thursday, Ohio State said the trustees and Drake “had a frank and comprehensive discussion last week” and that “a wide variety of perspectives were expressed in reaching a consensus.”
The school said Wadsworth, a retired president of Battelle Memorial Institute, was “an exceptionally valuable member of the board,” where he’d served since 2010.
The Meyer discussion certainly wasn’t his first involving the professional fate of a scrutinized employee with many fans. Wadsworth was board chairman in 2014 when Drake decided to fire marching band director Jonathan Waters after an investigation uncovered band traditions and rituals that were racy, raunchy or suggestive. Waters said he’d been trying to change such activities, but Drake and the university insisted that Waters controlled the band and answered for its practices, even those that came from old traditions.
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