Meyer characterized the result of the university’s investigation as largely exonerating him, saying he was not suspended for condoning domestic violence but rather for mismanaging the Smith situation. He eventually apologized to Smith’s wife, Courtney.
Meyer had resigned twice at Florida. He stepped down in late December 2009, after a brief hospitalization following a loss in the Southeastern Conference title game, only to change his mind a day later make it a leave of absence. He resigned for good after the next season, and did not coach for a year before assuming his position at Ohio State.
In light of the scandal earlier this year, many re-evaluated Meyer’s tenure at Florida, noting not only the two national titles and the college career of star quarterback Tim Tebow, but the bevy of player arrests and locker room issues. Meyer’s tight end in Gainesville, Aaron Hernandez, was later convicted of murder, and had been a suspect, but never charged, in more than one crime while at Florida.
On the field, Day will have large shoes to fill. Brought in while the program was still under N.C.A.A. sanctions for a scandal involving players trading signed memorabilia for tattoos, Meyer won three Big Ten titles and had a perfect 7-0 record against Ohio State’s rival Michigan, including a 62-39 shellacking last month that ended the Wolverine’s national-title hopes.
Day had been rumored to be the head coach-in-waiting, particularly after leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record while Meyer was suspended. He is an acolyte of Chip Kelly, the offensive pioneer who has coached at Oregon, with the Philadelphia Eagles and now at U.C.L.A.
Before Ohio State and Florida, Meyer was the head coach at Utah, where he had an undefeated season, and Bowling Green. Big name players he has coached include Tebow, Alex Smith at Utah, and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 and bound for a Rose Bowl showdown with Washington. They barely missed out on the College Football Playoff, despite the Big Ten championship.