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Ohio State football: Clause added to Urban Meyer’s contract could make firing him easier

A clause added to Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s contract earlier this year raised the stakes on his handling of allegations an assistant coach on his staff committed domestic violence. 

Per the terms, Meyer is required to report to Ohio State’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics any known violations of the school’s sexual misconduct policy. 

»TIMELINE: What led to Urban Meyer being placed on administrative leave

If he does not, he can be fired for cause. 

“Known violations” are defined as a violation or an allegation of a violation “that the coach is aware of or has reasonable cause to believe is taking place or may have taken place.” 

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Meyer has been accused of knowing receivers coach Zach Smith abused his wife in 2015 but keeping Smith on staff until he was arrested for violating a protection order in late July. 

The addendum to the contract, which Meyer signed in March, is significant because until Jan. 31, 2019, Meyer’s buyout is more than $38 million if he is fired for a reason other than cause. 

(It should be pointed out the contract does not require him to be fired even if Meyer is found to have violated it.) 

Meyer was put on paid leave Wednesday, two days before the Buckeyes are to begin preseason practice. 

The stated reason is to investigate the allegations made by Zach Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, in interviews with national college football reporter Brett McMurphy and the website Stadium that Meyer knew she was being abused but did nothing about it. 

Ohio State canceled all media availabilities until further notice but expressed hopes for an update Monday. 

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