In statement, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says he ‘failed’ when he denied knowing of 2015 domestic abuse incident involving assistant coach
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer issued a statement Friday and admitted he “failed” when he denied knowing about the domestic allegations made against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer said at Big Ten Media Day last week he knew nothing about a 2015 allegation or any other domestic issues Smith had during the time he worked for Meyer at Ohio State.
Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, told college football reporter Brett McMurphy that she had shared texts with Meyer’s wife in which she detailed years of abuse.
In his statement, Meyer admitted he didn’t handle the situation well at Media Day.
“My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading,” Meyer said. “However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.”
Meyer’s statement says he has always followed proper reporting procedures during his coaching career at the University of Florida and at Ohio State when he learned of incidents involving student-athletes, coaches or staff members.
“And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015,” Meyer said. “I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”
Of his answers to questions about the 2015 incident at Big Ten Media Day, Meyer admitted he did not do his job, which he said is to be “clear, compassionate and, most of all, completely accurate.”
“Unfortunately, at Big Ten Media days on July 24, I failed on many of these front,” Meyer said in his statement. “My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.”
Meyer fired Smith on July 23, after McMurphy’s first reporting on the story came to light. Meyer said the day after the story broke that he knew of a 2009 incident between the Smiths that happened in Florida, but denied knowing of any other domestic disputes between the couple.
On Wednesday, Meyer was placed on administrative leave by Ohio State while the university investigates the situation.
Here is Meyer’s full statement, which he issued via Twitter: