The future of highly successful Ohio State Football Head Coach Urban Meyer is hanging in the balance. It has been alleged that he possibly violated a Title IX agreement placed within his contract. There are several facets of this story, but the main point of contention boils down to whether or not Meyer reported an occurrence of domestic assault that took place in 2015 from one within his coaching carousel.
The Title IX a federal civil law prohibiting harassment and discrimination, on the basis of gender, by institutions that receive federal funding. The law was enacted to protect students and employees of such institutions against, among other things, sexual discrimination and assault. The law grants individuals a private cause of action against a University and/or University representatives for violations of Title IX. All federally funded Universities are required to have a policy detailing the method and means of reporting and investigating allegations of sexual discrimination and assault. The Ohio State University’s policy requires employees to report allegations of domestic violence. While failing to report allegations of domestic violence may violate University policy and certain contract language, this does not necessarily equate to a Title IX violation. With countless hours of deliberation through legal documents and processes, this case certainly carries a lot of weight.
Our very own, Sonia Walker acknowledges that this case has a lot of issues to ponder and legal matter to sort through. Some sources are suggesting that the Title IX agreement with Urban Meyer might have required him to retroactively report the domestic incident between former Coach Zach Smith and his wife, which occurred in 2015.
A major turning point within this case will obviously be whether or not Meyer committed a Title IX violation, exposing the University to potential civil liability. Sonia Walker believes that this case doesn’t fit the typical mold of a Title IX violation.
“Again, you have to have deprivation of an educational opportunity that was caused by severe pervasive harassment or discrimination. And then you have to show the university knew and that the university failed to respond.” (Sonia Walker)
Meyer admitted that he did not provide adequate responses when speaking at the Big Ten Media Day. “Unfortunately at Big Ten Media Days on July 24 I failed.” he said in his written letter. “My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.”
The Ohio State University has formed a special, independent investigative committee to conduct the proceedings. Former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White will lead the investigative team. Former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson was selected to serve as the head chair of the group. The group is comprised of three current members of the board of trustees, a former U.S. Deputy Attorney General and a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
“Ohio State is committed to a thorough and complete investigation,” Davidson said. “We look forward to sharing the results of this investigation and any action the university may take.”
According to a statement released on Sunday evening, The Ohio State University and its chosen investigative members intend to complete the entire process within fourteen days.