Bob Evans Restaurants put its partnership with Urban Meyer on hold Thursday as Ohio State continues to investigate what its football coach knew about allegations of domestic abuse against a former assistant coach.
Just days ago, the Ohio-based restaurant chain announced an endorsement deal with Meyer and proclaimed him its “head breakfast coach.”
Now, all that has changed.
“At Bob Evans Restaurants, we believe strongly in the family first values upon which the company was founded,” according to a statement provided to USA Today. “We are suspending the current partnership with Urban Meyer and removing all related content pending the results of the official Ohio State University investigation.”
Meyer was placed on administrative leave by Ohio State on Wednesday after a report emerged that said Meyer knew that his former wide receivers coach, Zach Smith, had been accused of domestic violence by his now ex-wife in 2015. Smith was fired July 23, days after an Ohio judge issued an order of protection that banned Smith from going within 500 feet of ex-wife Courtney Smith.
Zach Smith has never been convicted of any charges related to Courtney Smith.
Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago last week that he knew of an incident involving Smith and his then-wife in 2009, when Smith was on Meyer’s staff at Florida. He said he didn’t know of any incident in 2015 but that the Ohio State staff did its own investigation and found no basis for the allegation.
Ohio State has not commented on the Meyer situation since announcing he was placed on leave. Assistant offensive coordinator Ryan Day has taken over the Buckeyes program in Meyer’s absence
Meyer, an Ohio native, was announced as the Bob Evans spokesman earlier this week.
“We couldn’t think of a better fit for our first Head Breakfast Coach than Urban Meyer. We expect Coach Meyer to bring out the best in us as he comes to the table with a winning attitude, impressive football resume and of course a mutual appreciation for farm fresh quality and hearty breakfast foods. We’re ready for whatever plays he throws at us,” said Saed Mohseni, president and CEO of Bob Evans Restaurants, in a statement on Monday.
—Field Level Media