Ohio State pays $1 million to law firm for Urban Meyer investigation

Ohio State University President Michael Drake offers words to football coach Urban Meyer, who leaves the stage following a news conference in Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University paid a New York law firm $1 million for its investigation into former head coach Urban Meyer.

That's according to invoice records obtained by 10 Investigates.

Attorneys from Debevoise & Plimpton were hired last summer to investigate what Urban Meyer knew and did about domestic incidents involving former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith.

Smith was fired from Ohio State in July after additional news resurfaced of domestic incidents involving him and his ex-wife. Smith denied the abuse allegations but was charged with criminal trespass in May of 2018. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

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The law firm found that while Urban Meyer and Athletic Director Gene Smith did not "condone or cover up" the alleged domestic abuse, they failed to take sufficient management action and did not alert other university officials quickly enough.

According to the summary of the investigation released by the university: “Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith’s misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for Ohio State student-athletes.”

Both Meyer and Smith were suspended following the law firm's findings.

Urban Meyer told reporters last month it could have an impact on his legacy.

The law firm had initially billed the university $1.5 million but the amount was capped at $1 million by the state.

A university spokesman said Ohio State paid the law firm on Dec. 27.