Ohio State’s Meyer defends self, ex-assistant denies abuse
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
Saturday, August 4
Urban Meyer is insisting that he properly handled 2015 allegations of domestic violence against one of his assistant coaches at the time, though he acknowledged he was not forthright with reporters when questioned last week about the claims.
The assistant Meyer fired, Zach Smith, also spoke up on Friday, denying that he abused his ex-wife, backing his former boss and placing Ohio State’s athletic director into the middle of the picture.
Two days after Ohio State sidelined Meyer and opened an investigation into what its superstar coach knew and did about accusations of abuse made against Smith by his ex-wife, two central figures in this college football drama answered some questions — and left much to be explained.
Meyer posted a statement addressed to Buckeyes fans on Twitter not long after his team, expected to be one of the best in the nation, opened practice for the upcoming season without him. Meyer was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday.
While Meyer’s statement was still being digested, Smith went on Columbus radio station 105.7 The Zone. In the interview , Smith said Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith questioned him during the 2015 football season about the allegations made by Courtney Smith that fall. Police reports were made about two separate incidents, but Zach Smith has never been criminally charged.
Zach Smith was fired last week by Meyer, a few days after his wife obtained a protective order against him.
Smith also did an interview with ESPN. He said he never assaulted his wife and any physical injuries she might have suffered were the result of him defending himself.
He said Gene Smith was alerted by police about the 2015 allegations. Zach Smith said that after speaking to Gene Smith about them, he spoke to Meyer. He said Meyer told him then that he would fire Smith if the head coach found out Smith hit his wife.
“I don’t know what else Urban Meyer could have done,” Zach Smith told ESPN.
The crisis at one of the most storied programs in college football history comes as the school is reeling from a sexual abuse scandal involving a now-dead sports doctor, Richard Strauss.
The Buckeyes open the season at home Sept. 1 against Oregon State. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day is acting head coach and there is no timetable for the Meyer inquiry to conclude.
“Over the past several days I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action when warranted,” Meyer said.
“Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida and now at the Ohio State University I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”
At Big Ten media days last week, Meyer said he knew of an incident involving the Smiths in 2009 and that he and his wife, Shelley Meyer, addressed it with the Smiths. He was also asked about a 2015 incident alleged by Courtney Smith, who said she told Meyer’s wife about those incidents.
“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there,” Meyer said at the time. “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it.”
Meyer said his intention at media day was not to say anything inaccurate.
“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,” he said.
Meyer said he will fully cooperate with investigators. Ohio State did not respond Friday to a request seeking comment on the comments by Meyer or Smith, who told the radio station his marriage was volatile and that he made mistakes. The Smiths divorced in 2016.
“I don’t believe I have ever threatened her or anyone,” Zach Smith, who had been an assistant at Ohio State since Meyer was hired in 2012, said in the radio interview.
Smith, the grandson of late Buckeyes coach Earle Bruce, a mentor to Meyer, played for Meyer when he was coach at Bowling Green in 2001-02. Smith also was a graduate assistant for Meyer at Florida for five seasons.
In 2009, Zach Smith was accused by his wife of assault, but charges were not filed. Meyer has said he and his wife, Shelley, counseled the couple at the time. Courtney Smith has also said she told Shelley Meyer about the 2015 incidents and shared pictures of injuries through text messages that she shared with college football reporter Brett McMurphy .
In one text to Courtney Smith, Shelley Meyer said of Zach Smith: “He scares me.”
Meyer has been at Ohio State for six seasons, going 73-8 with a national championship in 2014 and two Big Ten conference titles. He earlier won two national titles at Florida.
Ohio State’s policy on sexual misconduct says anyone who supervises faculty, staff, students or volunteers has a duty to report “when they receive a disclosure of sexual misconduct or become aware of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that sexual misconduct may have occurred involving anyone covered under this policy.”
A clause in Meyer’s new contract, which raised his salary to $7.6 million this year and runs through 2022, also requires him to “report to Ohio State’s Title IX athletics any known violations” of the sexual misconduct policy involving students, faculty or staff at the risk of being fired with cause.
Firing Meyer without cause would cost Ohio State a nearly $40 million buyout.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen on https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/id1138957862?mt=2
More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
What is insider trading, the crime Rep. Chris Collins was charged with?
August 8, 2018
Professor of Law, West Virginia University
Associate Professor of Public Administration, West Virginia University
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
West Virginia University
West Virginia University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
The arrest of Congressman Chris Collins shines light on one of the sexier crimes that the securities laws has to offer: insider trading.
It’s the subject of many iconic movies like “Wall Street,” television shows like “Billions” and real-life scandals involving celebrities, politicians and others.
But despite all the media attention, very few people actually know what insider trading is under the law and how it gets people into trouble. As finance experts, we are here to fill that gap.
What is insider trading?
As its most basic, insider trading is when someone – usually a corporate insider – buys or sells securities such as a stock or bond based on “non-public information.”
For instance, Martha is a board member at Company X and learns of an incredible breakthrough at her company that hasn’t been disclosed to the public. If she then uses that information to buy her company’s stock – knowing that the stock price will go up after the announcement – Martha is likely guilty of insider trading.
Under current laws, the insider can also get into trouble if he or she shares that information with others – who could face prosecution as well if they make a trade using the information.
‘Billions’ on insider trading.
Why is it illegal?
For much of the 20th century in the U.S., insider trading was not generally considered illegal. It was only in the 1950s that various court rulings strengthened the power of Wall Street’s beat cop – the Securities and Exchange Commission – to go after inside traders under federal securities law.
Under the classical legal theory for insider trading, an insider – whether an employee or a corporate director – has a fiduciary obligation to a company to keep secret information secret. Insiders who breach that duty by either trading on the information or sharing it for personal benefits violate that duty. This appears to be the case with Collins.
But what if the stock you traded wasn’t from a company to whom you owed a fiduciary duty?
That was at the heart of a 1997 Supreme Court case that spawned something known as the misappropriation theory, which broadened what was considered illegal insider trading. In that case, attorney James O’Hagan used information he gained from his position at his firm to trade in another company’s stock. Since it wasn’t O’Hagan’s client, he argued, there was no duty and, hence, no breach.
The court disagreed. Since O’Hagan used confidential information that was given to him to perform his job and instead used it for his personal gain, he breached his duty and was therefore found guilty of insider trading.
Since then, prosecutors have used this theory to find wives who trade based on marital secrets, therapists who trade based on therapy sessions and even hackers who trade based on computer theft all to be guilty of insider trading.
As for Collins, he sat on the board of biotechnology company Innate Immunotherapeutics. He was also the Australian company’s largest shareholder. When Collins learned that a trial involving a new multiple sclerosis drug failed, he allegedly sold shares in the company – to avoid significant losses – and passed along that information to his son, who in turn, shared it with others.
Not quite the plot of a “Billions” story line, but, give it a year and we’re sure that Hollywood can come up with something.
The Conversation US, Inc.
Opinion: Incarcerated Want a Second Chance; Now Congress Needs to Act
By Israel Ortega
Imagine being 13 years old. Your father has been in prison for as long as you can remember. Over time, the two of you slowly develop a relationship. Eventually, you are at a point where you want to give him a hug.
But as much as you’d like to, you can’t. Your father is more than 500 miles away because of existing policy in some of our country’s federal prisons.
For Kendall Williams, this is not a hypothetical — it’s reality. And like him, there are other family members who are far removed from their loved ones serving time repaying their debt to society. That’s why Williams and dozens more gathered at the U.S. Capitol a few weeks ago to demand change.
Fortunately, policymakers from across the ideological spectrum are taking notice.
Recently, the House of Representatives passed the FIRST STEP Act, bipartisan legislation that would require inmates to be placed in a prison within 500 miles of their homes. This is good news for people like Williams and his father. Research has shown that consistent familial connections help facilitate rehabilitation.
But family separation isn’t the only obstacle prisoners face on the road to rehabilitation, nor is it the only problem plaguing the U.S. criminal justice system.
The United States has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world. And instead of being rehabilitated, most prisoners become hardened criminals. Facing limited options to find work and reintegrate themselves back into society upon release, more than 75 percent will be arrested within five years.
As a result, our criminal justice system is a revolving door costing taxpayers $80 billion each year. In fact, we spend more each year on correctional facilities than we do on the federal Department of Education.
The FIRST STEP Act includes a number of provisions that would help alleviate many of these problems.
The bill would expand the number of days a prisoner’s sentence could be reduced for good behavior. It also encourages inmates to sign up for more vocational and educational programs so they have skills to find employment and not become a repeat offender.
Tony Lewis Jr., a re-entry specialist, says this is one of the most significant aspects of the FIRST STEP Act. “Expanding training and education in the federal system is critical and pivotal. It is shameful that we don’t have more of a focus on that.”
Additionally, if the bill were signed into law, it would require the federal government to assist individuals obtaining proper identification — another critical tool to finding work and housing.
These criminal justice reforms are gaining momentum among the American public. A recent poll found that likely voters overwhelmingly approve of the FIRST STEP Act. When asked about reforms needed to our criminal justice system, 75 percent said it was an important issue for them heading into this year’s midterm election.
Meanwhile, new research by Florida State University found the incarcerated want to be rehabilitated and are eager for a second chance. According to the findings, prisoners want to work more, learn more and spend more time on personal relationships.
Of course, protecting our communities is vital. There are some prisoners who pose a threat to society and should never see the light of day. But there are also countless stories of prisoners who turn their lives over to a higher power or find a sense of purpose and direction while incarcerated.
John Koufus, a former prisoner who is now national director of Reentry Initiatives at Right on Crime, believes we must resist being impartial bystanders as the formerly incarcerated struggle to adjust upon being released: “(Former prisoners) are out in space. They have no idea of how to get back home or how to be productive. And if we don’t do what we need to do, they will commit more crimes.”
No one piece of legislation will address all the shortcomings of our complicated criminal justice system, but Congress is on the cusp of passing one of the most significant criminal justice reforms in a generation.
The House has done its part. Now it’s over to the Senate, where dwindling days on the legislative calendar and competing interests threaten to kill the bill before it can get to President Donald Trump, who has expressed strong support for the bill.
The families of the incarcerated, those serving time and the American people are ready for Congress to finally deliver.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Israel Ortega is a representative for the LIBRE Initiative. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.