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SLATE: Chaos in Columbus

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Camp opens, basketball and baseball recruiting news, and a new assistant tennis coach

A rather fitting pose right now, one surmises.
A rather fitting pose right now, one surmises.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Today, we’re going to open with something that has absolutely nothing to do with K-State, because some outside news is important enough for us to discuss.

That something, of course, is the quagmire in which Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer now finds himself. Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave by Ohio State pending an investigation into his prior knowledge (or lack thereof) of the domestic violence allegations which resulted in wide receivers coach Zach Smith being terminated a couple of weeks ago.

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg addresses the timeline of events and some in-depth details surrounding the controversy, but one thing upon which he failed to touch was the confusion in the media regarding the Title IX status of the investigation. That confusion stems, in part, from the Title IX office being placed in charge of the investigation.

However, this may not actually be a Title IX situation; the placement of the investigation is merely a function of the contract extension Meyer signed in April, which altered certain reporting requirements on his part. It’s important to stress that at the time of the incident in question, Meyer was bound by a different form of the contract, and he may not have been required to report what — if anything — he knew.

Still... Meyer is in deep boiling water at this point. The two most damning items of note: a text message in which a third party mentioned that Meyer himself had said that Smith denied the accusation, and Meyer’s statement last Monday that he knew nothing about the situation.

The text message would seem to indicate that Meyer has, in fact, known about the charges since October 2015 and took no known action until last week. The statement Monday, then, would by necessity be at best a massive case of amnesia and at worst an outright lie.

At this stage, Meyer may actually be innocent, on a technical level, of any wrongdoing in 2015. (Morally, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.) However, his statement last Monday puts Ohio State in a bind. In today’s climate, where we are rightly paying more attention to acts of violence against women, the denial by Meyer is at the very least a public-relations nightmare. Men have lost their jobs for less.

What we’ll have to wait and see is whether Ohio State is willing to take the heat and retain him, assuming that option even remains available to them following the investigation. If it turns out that Meyer was indeed required to report the incident when he became aware, then they’ll have no choice but to terminate him. If not, it’s a matter of PR versus football.

Previously

Yesterday marked the big three-oh: 30 days until K-State football. BracketCat celebrated with his profile of K-State’s own #30, grayshirt linebacker Parker O’Neal.

AMS also chipped in yesterday, reporting on the preseason USA Today coaches poll, in which K-State unofficially placed 32nd.

Football

Shaun Goodwin hits the Star with a feel-good piece on current Chiefs and former K-State receiver and kick returner Byron Pringle.

In today’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire takes on the task of discussing the first day of fall camp.

Basketball

Bruce Weber’s finally broken the seal on the 2019 recruiting class. Kellis Robinett at the Eagle and Ryan Black at the Mercury report on the commitment of Spring (Tex.) forward Montavious Murphy. The 6’8” three-star announced his decision on Twitter yesterday.

On the other hand, according to Michael Casagrande at AL.com, the Cats lost out on another 2019 recruit yesterday, and they lost him to BAMA. Grr. Four-star shooting guard Jaylen Forbes of Florence, Miss., chose the Tide over the Cats and some lesser schools.

Baseball

Brock Netter at the Kankakee Daily Journal reports that the BatCats have secured the services of Manteno (Ill.) catcher Mason Crews. He’s already signed a letter of intent, apparently. Crews already has a Kansas connection, as his older brother Brock plays for Pittsburg State.

Golf

At the Capital-Journal, Tim Bisel reports on Robert Streb’s strong first round at the Barracuda Championship, being held this weekend at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nev. It’s a Stableford tournament rather than a stroke-against-par deal; Streb has a score of +13, four points behind Thursday leader Ollie Schniederjans.

Tennis (and Soccer)

Chelsey Frihart, who’s served in the K-State athletic department as Assistant Director of Hospitality and Special Events, is now the school’s Director of Soccer and Tennis Operations. What’s that mean? In a lot of ways, if you’re familiar with the role a Team Secretary performs for a Major League Baseball team, that’s it.

In tennis-only news, Jordan Smith announced the addition of Megan Kurey to his staff as an assistant coach. Kurey, an ITA national doubles champion at Georgia Tech as a player, was a volunteer assistant on last year’s Yellow Jacket squad which reached the NCAA Final Four.