- Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer released a statement Friday pushing back against claims that he knew of allegations of domestic violence against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
- The statement followed a report that Meyer may have known of the domestic violence claims, leaving Smith on the coaching staff until this July.
- Meyer denied knowledge of the claims in July.
- Meyer said in the statement said he mishandled a question about the allegation in July, saying he was not prepared to discuss the matter.
- Meyer was placed on paid leave while the university investigates the matter.
Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer on Friday pushed back against claims that he knew about and mishandled allegations of domestic violence against former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer released a statement saying he has always followed “proper reporting protocol and procedures” while at Ohio State and the University of Florida when he learned of incidents involving members of the football team.
“Over the past several days, I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action, when warranted,” Meyer said in the statement. “While over three decades of coaching I have learned how to ignore how others define me, I do feel it necessary to share the truth with the Buckeye family.”
The statement came after a report from college football insider Brett McMurphy suggested Meyer may have known about allegations of domestic violence by Smith. McMurphy’s report showed that Zach’s wife, Courtney Smith, had exchanged text messages with Meyer’s wife, Shelley, and the wives of other coaches on the team regarding the abuse in 2015.
Smith remained on the football staff until July, when a report from McMurphy first broke the allegations of abuse. He was fired afterward. At a press conference in July, Meyer denied knowledge of the allegations.
In his statement on Friday, Meyer said that during the press conference, he was not prepared to “discuss sensitive personnel issues with the media,” apologizing for how he handled the questions about Smith.
On Wednesday, Ohio State launched an investigation into the matter and put Meyer on paid leave. On Friday, Meyer said he looked forward to sharing what he knew with investigators, saying he is confident that he took the “appropriate action.”
Read Meyer’s statement below:
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) August 3, 2018