Urban Meyer

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2017, file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer walks on the field before an NCAA college football game against Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State trustees are set to discuss the future of football coach Urban Meyer. The 20-member board plans to meet in private on Wednesday morning, Aug. 22, 2018, in Columbus to decide whether Meyer should be punished for his handling of domestic-abuse allegations against a former assistant coach.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

The next time Urban Meyer coaches a football game will be when his Buckeyes welcome Tulane to the Horseshoe.

Unless the football gods intervene and decide to right Ohio State's wrongs, the Buckeyes will improve to 4-0 that day.

The score of the game will be an afterthought on SportsCenter that night.

There will be few, if any questions about the game itself for Meyer or any of his players during the postgame news conference.

It'll all be about Meyer's return to the sidelines after missing the first three games of the season.

Ohio State announced Meyer's three-game suspension Wednesday night, the sad culmination of a monthlong saga of how the highly successful Meyer handled (or in this case, mishandled) allegations of domestic violence against former assistant coach Zach Smith toward Smith's wife, Courtney.

It was a slap on the wrist, if you can even call missing games against Oregon State (blowout), Rutgers (another blowout) and TCU that.

It was also the latest reminder of all that is wrong with the win-at-all-cost game of college football. (Not that we really need any more reminders.)

The fact that there was a punishment is clear indication that Ohio State's investigation led the school to believe that Meyer did a poor job once he found out about Smith's issues.

The fact that the punishment is only three games is clear indication that Meyer's win-loss record trumps everything else.

But that's college football, a monster that college football fans helped create.

It's why some Ohio State football fans cheered for Meyer as if he had won another national championship as he headed to his car after Wednesday night's news conference.

It's why if Meyer had been coaching THE University You Cheer For instead of THE Ohio State University, some of you would have had your fingers crossed that your school president exhibited the same leniency Ohio State president Michael Drake did.

Drake did what most college presidents would have done, especially when dealing with one of the most successful coaches in the game. He issued a penalty that was just enough to say he acknowledged the issue but not tough to upset a fan base that cares more about wins than they do Courtney Smith.

In doing so, he's taking a chance that Meyer will be squeaky clean the rest of the way. Meyer must now handle the managerial duties that come with being the CEO of a football program with the same know-how that he has with the recruiting, the X's and O's and the winning.

He'll likely spend the remainder of his coaching career under a microscope that college coaches try their best to stay away from.

Staying away from the microscope is a big reason media access in college football is at its lowest point.

The fewer cameras around and questions being asked, the less chance anyone finds out about the bad decisions some 18 to 22-year old kids (or in this case a 34-year old assistant coach) are making.

Coaches would much rather keep their dirt in house, sweeping it under the rug when they need to.

That's what Meyer did by not handling the Smith's situation when he first knew about it.

And that's what Ohio State did on Wednesday night, sweeping it under the rug with a three-game suspension that it hopes will someday be forgotten.

It won't be.

No, Meyer shouldn't have been fired.

But if Ohio State thought he was wrong, something more than a three-game suspension would have made more sense. Heck, even six games (half a season) would have sufficed.

But that would have meant missing the Penn State game (a week after the Tulane game), and you know Meyer couldn't miss that one.

Gotta win that one.

And in college football, as we were reminded once again on Wednesday night, winning is all that matters.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.