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COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Buckeyes fan Tom DeLisio heard about Ohio State coach Urban Meyer being placed on administrative leave on Aug. 1, he made a friendly bet with a friend that Meyer would be fired.

Today, he regrets that wager. Now he's among many fans in the community or on campus who believe Meyer will remain as the head coach.

"The general take is that it will be a slap on the wrist," Delisio, 38, an Ohio State graduate, told USA TODAY. "Few people expect him to be let go."

The school's 20-person board of trustees will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday to discuss a report filed by independent investigators about how much Meyer knew, and when he learned, that former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith had been accused of domestic abuse in 2015.

"The Columbus Dispatch," citing two anonymous sources, said the likely recommendation would be for a suspension and not a firing.

"Initially, given the environment we have today, I thought he would be gone quickly," DeLisio said. "Domestic abuse is a sensitive issue. But the more I dug into it, the more my (opinion) changed."

Smith, never charged by police, was fired by the Buckeyes in July.

"Everyone I ask is optimistic, and I'm optimistic (Meyer will be back)," said Eric Staib, an Ohio State sophomore. "Obviously, there is information that I don't know, but from what I've seen and been told, it seems like he did the right thing. It's obviously something that should not have happened. But I think he is telling the truth."

Staib said he could see the university handing him a three-game suspension.

"I would disagree with that," he said. "You are either guilty or you are not."

OSU junior Alex Lesh of Cleveland said there is less talk about Meyer's situation today than there was two weeks ago when the news broke.

"There is buzz about it, but it has died down," he said. "There is no sense talking about it now, because it's all just speculation. Everyone is just waiting."

While Meyer hasn't spoken in public since being placed on administrative leave, he did issue a statement in which he said he had properly reported the Smith allegations to someone in authority. He didn't specify who it was. He also apologized for making false statements about the Smith situation during the Big Ten Media Day.

"The Columbus Dispatch" reported Meyer met with investigators multiple times during the probe and athletics director Gene Smith was interviewed at least twice.

After listening to the trustee's opinions, OSU President Michael V. Drake will decide Meyer's fate. He hasn't said when his decision will come, and the school has not stated how the news would be delivered.

The stakes are high because the Buckeyes are ranked No. 3 in the Amway Coaches Poll. Ryan Day has been the interim head coach for the last two weeks of practice. The Buckeyes open the season Sept. 1 at home against Oregon State.

Meyer is a popular coach with fans and students. "Everyone loves him," Staib said.

Added DeLisio: "I'd say he's the most popular coach since Woody Hayes. He's a 10 on a 1-10 scale."

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August 22, 2018


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