The six-member panel appointed to investigate Ohio State Head Football Coach Urban Meyer is loaded with insiders who have watched Buckeye football games from the university suite and traveled to bowl games.
The panel includes three current trustees — Columbus Partnership chief executive Alex Fischer, business attorney Alex Shumate and hospital administrator and consultant Janet Porter — as well as former trustee Jo Ann Davidson, a well-connected Republican leader. The other two members — Craig Morford and Carter Stewart — are former U.S. Department of Justice officials.
Trustees and former trustees are invited to the university suite at Ohio Stadium for home games and to travel to bowl games. Records show that Davidson, Shumate and Fischer have traveled to multiple bowl games as part of the university’s official party over the past decade. Stewart was a guest in the university’s stadium suite in 2012, records show.
“Most people in Columbus are supportive of Ohio State at some level, some more, some less. It would be unusual and difficult to cobble together a group of people that didn’t have opinions about Ohio State as an institution,” said Mark Weaver, an attorney and crisis communications consultant. “So it’s no surprise that people of this caliber would already have some involvement with Ohio State.”
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He added: “This feels like a good mix to me.”
Davidson: Appointed OSU trustee by then Gov. Bob Taft, Davidson served on the board 2001 to 2010. She served 10 terms in the Ohio House and was elected speaker in 1995 — the first and only woman to hold the top legislative leadership post in the Ohio General Assembly. She runs a political consulting firm, chairs the Ohio Casino Control Commission and founded a leadership institute for up and coming Republican women. She co-chaired the Republican National Committee 2005 to 2009.
Fischer: Appointed trustee in 2014 by Gov. John Kasich, Fischer has led the Columbus Partnership since 2002 and currently is chairman of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Previously, Fischer was an executive at Battelle, a Columbus-based research and development organization. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee.
Morford: A former U.S. Department of Justice official who supervised 93 U.S. Attorney’s offices, Morford now directs the legal, regulatory and compliance affairs for Columbus-based Cardinal Health, a drug distributor and health care service provider with 50,000 employees in 60 countries. He earned his law degree from Valparaiso University and a bachelor’s from Hope College.
Porter: Appointed OSU trustee in 2017 by Gov. John Kasich, Porter has 40 years of experience in hospital administration and public health. In 2012, she joined Stroudwater Associates, which consults academic medical centers, specialty hospitals, drug makers and others. She holds an MBA and doctorate from University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s and masters of health administration from OSU.
Shumate: Shumate is a managing partner at Squire Patton and Boggs where he counsels clients on businesses on regulatory and legislative issues. He has been off and on the OSU board since 1989. He holds a bachelor’s from Ohio Wesleyan University and a law degree from University of Akron.
Stewart: former U.S. attorney for the southern district of Ohio, Stewart now managing director of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, which funds social entrepreneurs. He holds a law degree from Harvard and a master’s in education policy from Columbia and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford.
The panel hired an investigator: Mary Jo White, former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York and current chair of the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
The investigation is expected to be completed within 14 days, the university said on Sunday. The panel will provide advice and consultation to the full board of trustees.
After the investigation, OSU President Michael Drake will make a decision in consultation with the trustees.