Update: 5:00 p.m. EDT Aug. 3: Ohio State University college football coach Urban Meyer said he followed “proper reporting protocol and procedures” in dealing with domestic violence allegations against his former assistant, Zach Smith, in 2015.
Meyer issued a statement Friday on social media for the first time since being put on paid administrative leave by the university earlier this week as the school conducts an investigation into how he handled the allegations.
“I have always followed proper reporting protocol and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issue to the proper channels. And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015,” Meyer said in a post on Twitter.
He acknowledged that he did not properly respond to media questions about the incident.
“I apologize for the way I handled those questions,” he said.
Meyer said he’s looking forward to answering questions about the incident during the course of the investigation and said he will “cooperate fully” with the independent investigators.
Update: 6:15 p.m EDT Aug. 1: Ohio State University has announced that Urban Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation into the domestic violence allegations continues.
Offensive Coordinator Ryan Day will serve as acting head coach, according to the university.
Urban Meyer knew of domestic violence allegations against Zach Smith in 2015, according to a new report by college football insider Brett McMurphy on Wednesday.
McMurphy reported he obtained text messages sent by Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of Zach Smith, to Shelley Meyer, the wife of the Ohio State Buckeyes coach.
According to McMurphy, the text messages, an interview with Courtney Smith and other information prove Meyer knew about the allegations against Smith, the wide receivers coach who spent six seasons on Meyer’s staff and was fired on July 23. Meyer’s mentor was late Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, who was Zach Smith’s grandfather.
At Big Ten Media Days in Chicago in July, Meyer spoke about the 2015 allegations.
“I got a text late last night something happened in 2015,” Meyer said. “And there was nothing. Once again, there's nothing. Once again, I don't know who creates a story like that.”
Meyer also said he would have fired Smith in 2015 if he had known about the incidents.
“I was never told about anything,” he said. “Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it.”
Courtney Smith told McMurphy all the coaches’ wives knew of the abuse. She also did an interview with the Stadium network about the situation. In a clip posted Tuesday, she said she told Shelley Meyer about the physical abuse in 2015.
“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney Smith said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. You should tell Urban. We can’t have somebody like this coaching young men.’”
She told the network Shelley Meyer never told her whether she talked to Urban Meyer.
“She would reach out to me, ask me how I’m doing, tell me she was worried, if I needed anything she was there,” Smith said.
“When somebody is crying out for help, I believe the coach, the coach’s wife have a duty to do something to help, instead of worrying about winning games or who his mentor is and who his family is and trying to protect that. Somebody’s safety and the safety of their children and the environment that they’re in needs to be more important” she said.