Chicken face staring in the camera

A picture of his penis from the White House. Sex toys, $2,200 worth, delivered to his office where he had sex with a secretary. Taking high school coaches to strip clubs. Oh, and let’s not forget the victim. Zach Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, had a number of serious looking bruises.

So this is our sacred Buckeye football team, so proud of its winning ways and its “core values.” We have a head coach, a self-touted man of faith, allowing a nepotistic toddler man run amok. Our head coach, a father of two daughters, turning a cold shoulder to obvious domestic violence so OSU can recruit the best wide receivers.

And this is our prestigious University. Slapping Urban Meyer on the wrist during the #MeToo movement. Ohio State University (OSU) claimed Urban had memory issues but he remembered to delete his text messages.

We at the Free Press like to poke fun at who’s truly running things these days in Columbus and beyond. It sure doesn’t seem as if our elected officials or appointed leaders are in control. Developers, healthcare executives and billionaire CEOs have too much power and are seemingly calling the shots. So who has the most power at OSU, the head football coach?

We all know how important the football team is to the University and Columbus. These days it’s not a school’s academics or research that’s more important, it’s how dominant the university is on the gridiron. But are you aware of how important the OSU endowment is?

The OSU endowment is an investment fund fueled by harassing alumni for donations. It currently stands at just over $5 billion, the 21st wealthiest in the US. Harvard is tops at $37 billion, and the joke goes Harvard is actually a hedge fund with a university attached to it.

In 2015, the Free Press, with help from New York Times financial columnist Victor Fleischer, found the OSU endowment in 2012 “provided exactly zero support, no expenditure at all, for scholarships” for students in need, he told us.

Makes you wonder what OSU is doing with $5 billion laying around, let alone how nuts is an assistant coach who selfies his wiener at the White House.

Nevertheless, do you think OSU alumni will be in a giving mood if the Buckeye football team is languishing outside the top-25? We can hear thousands of OSU grads hanging up on endowment telemarketers as we type.

Ultimately, the decision to not fire Urban rested with OSU President Drake. Following a $500,000 investigation that revealed more weirdo behavior by the assistant, Drake went with the suspension.

The $500,000 may indeed be paid for by the endowment, which would be a drop in the bucket. What the endowment can’t get rid of is the university’s legacy of whether or not it cares about victims of domestic violence.

Many Buckeye fans apparently don’t have much sympathy for such victims. On local talk radio, for instance, Zach Smith’s wife was repeatedly re-victimized.

“This is very typical and this is exactly why so many victims don’t come forward,” says Nancy Neylon, Executive Director of the Columbus-based Ohio Domestic Violence Network. “When victims come forward to tell their story they are not believed. Batterers are very, very manipulative. They lie. So it’s very difficult for victims to come forward because they are afraid for what the consequences will be for coming forward.”

Keeping in mind how OSU responded to the domestic violence allegations against Zach Smith, Neylon asks, “What message does this send to women, particularly to wives or girlfriends of athletes who are being abused? This sends, in general, a message to victims that it doesn’t make sense to come forward. Look what happens to you. Either nothing happens and no one believes you, or you are being vilified.”

Zach Smith claimed his wife’s bruises were due to defending himself from his wife’s own attacks. Neylon says this is classic batterer behavior and response.

“This is absolutely what batterers will try to do,” she says. “They say, ‘I was defending myself so I strangled her. I was sleeping and somehow she got a huge bruise.’ It’s classic behavior for the batterer to make the victim sound crazy and the problem.”

Neylon says the University and President Drake need to take a long look at how they have addressed and responded to sexualized misogyny and sexualized abuse.

The OSU marching band’s sexualized culture went unchecked for years, she says. The university may have ignored student athletes who alleged abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, a diving coach who forced athletes into sex.

“What I would have liked the university to have done is acknowledge they have a problem and a culture that supports violence. That’s the message I would have liked to have seen,” she says.

President Drake and OSU don’t seem to have an understanding of how to mentor and be role models to young men, says Neylon.

“Do you want the example for young men to be you can lie about this and get away with this? And if you do commit domestic violence, not much will happen? And there’s ways to vilify your victim to make her look bad? Is that the young men we want in our society becoming husbands and fathers?”

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