Ohio Football Coach: Another Case of Deleted Messages

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer will forgo pay and the ability to coach three games because of his failure to appropriately handle a staff member's misconduct. A New York Times article chronicles issues with Zach Smith's behavior, including paying $600 at a strip club during a recruiting event, a domestic violence charge, and an affair with a staff member.

During a press conference, Meyer apologized, saying, "I should have done more, and I am sorry for that," and "I followed my heart and not my head."

The Times article also describes a conversation between Meyer and Smith about deleting text messages. I should count the number of stories on this blog since 2010 illustrating that deleting texts and emails fail to get the desired result. These messages are almost always recoverable, and the act of deletion makes the accused look even more guilty. 

In addition, in this situation, Ohio State officials at first failed to produce messages requested by the school newspaper. Worse, several staff knew about the request, but no one even approached Coach Meyer to retrieve them.

Image source.


  • Once again, where are the many places deleted messages may be stored? How else can they be retrieved?
  • What's your view of the strip club visits? Could Meyer reasonably argue that this is just part of the recruiting process? After all, no students were invited—only university and high school coaches. 
  • Assess the press conference. How well did university officials, including Meyer, respond to reporters' questions? Did the team appropriately take accountability?