Ohio State suspends football coach Urban Meyer three games: 'I want to apologize':\u00a0\u00a0While Urban Meyer\u2019s suspension can be debated, one thing cannot: OSU and Meyer botched their reaction and explanation of the decision.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCOLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State suspended its national championship\u00a0football coach Urban Meyer for three games\u00a0after the school investigated his handling of allegations of domestic abuse involving one of his former assistant coaches.\r\n\r\nThe announcement comes after the school's\u00a0Board of Trustees appointed an independent panel\u00a0to oversee a two-week\u00a0investigation of Meyer and what he knew about domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. The board reviewed the\u00a0report and discussed its actions for nearly 11 hours on Wednesday.\r\n\r\nMeyer, who\u00a0will miss games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU, is suspended without pay. He has been on paid leave since Aug. 1.\r\n\r\nHe cannot work with the team at all through the Oregon State game. After that, he can coach practices but cannot beat the next two games.\r\n\r\n"I appreciate the opportunity to learn from a mistake," Meyer said at a press conference.\u00a0\u201cThere were red flags (with Zach Smith). I wish I did a better job knowing things and finding out things. I wish people told me more things. . . . I wish I had known more.\r\n"I want to apologize to the Buckeye Nation. I followed my heart\u00a0and not my head. ... At each juncture, I gave Zach the benefit of the doubt.\u201d\r\nAthletic director Gene Smith also was suspended from Aug. 31 to Sept. 16.\u00a0\u201cI have ultimate authority and oversight and I\u2019m accountable for the athletic department, and in particular, the football program," Gene Smith said. "I could have done a better job in this particular instance.\u201d\r\n\r\nAccording to the report: "Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management activities relating to Zach Smith\u2019s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes.\u00a0 Permitting such misconduct to continue is not consistent with the values of the University and reflects poorly on Coach Meyer, Athletic Director Smith, and the University.\u00a0 Their handling of this matter did not exhibit the kind of leadership and high standards that we expect of our Athletic Director, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches and all on the football staff."\r\n\r\nDuring his administrative leave, Meyer was barred from coming on campus. But he was seen entering the building early in the trustees' session. His wife, Shelley, arrived around 2:30.\r\n\r\nZach Smith\u00a0was accused of abuse by his ex-wife on several occasions, most recently in 2015.\u00a0Meyer initially denied knowledge of the alleged 2015 incident during an appearance at Big Ten Conference media days in July. He later\u00a0he\u00a0admitted to previously knowing about the matter\u00a0and said he followed proper reporting protocols and procedures.\r\n\r\nIn an interview\u00a0for the website Stadium, Smith\u2019s ex-wife, Courtney Smith,\u00a0said she had told Meyer\u2019s wife, Shelley, and Lindsey Voltolini, the wife of Ohio State\u2019s director of football operations, about her ex-husband\u2019s abusive behavior.\r\nAmong the correspondences between Smith and Shelley Meyer were photos showing bruises stemming from the 2015 incident.\r\n\r\nFollowing the interview with Smith, the school's\u00a0Board of Trustees appointed an independent panel\u00a0to oversee the investigation of Meyer.\r\n\r\nRyan Day, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is serving as interim head coach.\r\n\r\nAcross multiple stops, each more successful than the last, Meyer\u2019s coaching career has been a contradiction of near-unparalleled success marred by bouts of controversy.\r\n\r\nAt Florida, where Meyer led the Gators to national championships in 2006 and 2008, his program dominated the Southeastern Conference yet too often found itself in the headlines for player misconduct. Off the field, a program that seemed invincible was anything but.\r\n\r\nThirty-one players were arrested during Meyer\u2019s tenure, which spanned from 2005-10. A report by Sporting News detailed an altercation between Florida assistant coach Billy Gonzales and star receiver Percy Harvin, which saw Harvin grab Gonzales by the throat and tackle him to the ground before being separated by two assistants.\r\nAnother one of Meyer\u2019s stars at Florida, tight end Aaron Hernandez, was involved in two incidents during his time with the Gators, both in 2007. In one, Hernandez punched a restaurant employee in the side of the head, rupturing the individual\u2019s eardrum. In the other, Hernandez was viewed as a person of interest in a shooting that occurred after a night at a local nightclub.\r\nIn 2013, Hernandez was arrested and charged in the murder of an acquaintance in North Attleborough, Mass. Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2015.\r\nOn the field, on the other hand, Meyer led Florida back to prominence after a brief dip following the retirement of former head coach Steve Spurrier.\r\nLed by quarterback Tim Tebow, the Gators won the national championship in both 2006 and 2008, finished No. 3 in the Amway Coaches Poll in 2009 and finished lower than 16th nationally just once, in Meyer\u2019s final season in 2010.\r\nMeyer nearly retired in the winter of 2009, after a health scare involving chest pains following the recent conference championship game and a desire to spend more time with his family. He officially stepped down on Dec. 9, 2010, with a 65-15 record at the school, and spent the 2011 season as an analyst for ESPN.\r\n\u201cAt the end of the day, I'm very convinced that you're going to be judged on how you are as a husband and as a father and not on how many bowl games we won,\u201d Meyer said at the time.\r\n\r\nBut it wasn\u2019t long before he returned to coaching. A native of Ashtabula, Ohio, Meyer was hired by Ohio State in late November of 2011, and immediately moved the Buckeyes into elite company: OSU went 12-0 in his debut season, in 2012, though the Buckeyes were ineligible for the postseason due to sanctions stemming from the Jim Tressel era.\r\n\r\nOf Meyer\u2019s six teams, just one, in 2013, finished outside the top 10 of the Coaches Poll. The 2014 team claimed the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship. Each of the five Meyer-coached teams eligible for the postseason reached a New Year\u2019s Six bowls; all six combined for just three losses in regular-season Big Ten play.\r\nHe always had a reputation for being difficult, addicted to the details, micromanaging every detail of his program, however small. At Ohio State, for instance, the desk in Meyer\u2019s office was angled toward the door leading into the Buckeyes\u2019 main football facility \u2014 allowing him to see who was going in and out, and when.\r\n\r\nYet you could never argue with the results. Meyer holds a career record of 177-31, which includes earlier, two-year stints at Bowling Green and Utah. His final team at Utah, in 2004, went 12-0 and won the Fiesta Bowl. In the history of the FBS, just three coaches have done better than Meyer\u2019s 85.1 winning percentage.