COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Board of Trustees met in public for two minutes at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning before breaking into executive session. They remained behind closed doors into the evening discussing Urban Meyer’s future as the head coach at Ohio State.
The first two minutes of the day unfolded conventionally. Board chair Michael J. Gasser moved the board into a private session to “discuss personnel matters regarding the employment, compensation and discipline of public officials.”
The rest of the day unfolded as an ode to the bizarre, filled with the unexpected and mysterious. At about 9:40 a.m. ET, a local television station caught a picture of Meyer heading into the backdoor of the Longaberger Alumni House.
There was no general public expectation of Meyer attending the meeting. But his black Audi was parked behind the building and he entered through a service entrance. From there, the rest of the afternoon was filled with speculation and waiting.
It’s unknown if Meyer met with the Board of Trustees or what his intention was in showing up. Clark Kellogg, the former Buckeye basketball player and trustee, indicated to the Columbus Dispatch that Meyer was not meeting with the trustees.
At about 2:35 p.m., Meyer’s wife, Shelley, pulled up in a white Mercedes SUV and was ushered into the backdoor by a security official. There was no word why she was there. The same can be said for athletic director Gene Smith, who arrived later in the evening.
Meanwhile, about 40 media members waited on a patch of concrete behind the building. In the football building, there was no clarity as multiple sources were asking for updates and information. (The Buckeyes were practicing at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.)
The only other tangible sign of action to come through the parking deck came from a delivery man earlier. A man wheeled a box labeled “Frosted Podium” onto the dock and up on to the building. That fueled speculation that a press conference would be happening at some point.
But the majority of the day was spent waiting, with fans taking pictures and the occasional person leaving the building being mistakenly identified as a board member and chased down by reporters. (There are 20 board members, many of whom are not recognizable.)
By early evening, the scene turned into an all-out spectacle. Fans began to gather around the parking deck where Urban and Shelley Meyer’s cars were parked. Others drove by and filmed the throng of media that had been waiting outside for most of the day.
Meyer has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 1, and the university launched an investigation in the wake of domestic abuse allegations against a former football staff member. The scope of the investigation expanded in the wake of allegations of tawdry behavior by Zach Smith, the former assistant coach, by his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. (Courtney Smith spoke to investigators on Aug. 13.)
Meyer and others were interviewed multiple times by investigators, according to sources familiar with the probe.
The investigation ended on Sunday, and the board was informally briefed verbally on the results of it for nearly three hours on Monday.
University officials had confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that Ohio State plans to release a written report detailing an executive summary of the investigative findings. But it’s still unknown when the final decision on Meyer’s fate will be made.
The meeting on Wednesday was a forum for the board’s input, but university president Michael V. Drake will make the final decision.
Meyer has been away from the Ohio State football team for the entirety of summer camp. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day is the interim coach. The Buckeyes open the football season at home on Sept. 1 against Oregon State.
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