Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday evening while the university opens an investigation to claims that Meyer knew about the allegations of domestic violence against his former assistant Zach Smith.
Smith was fired last week after reports surfaced that he was charged and/or accused of assaulting his now ex-wife Courtney during his time as an assistant at the University of Florida as well as Ohio State.
Courtney Smith talked with former ESPN reporter Brett McMurphy and showed him text messages that Smith sent out to wives of the coaches on the Ohio State staff including to Meyer’s wife Shelley.
Here is an excerpt of what Smith said to McMurphy via the Associated Press
“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney Smith told Stadium. “I said: `That’s fine, you should tell Urban.'”
Urban Meyer was asked about the 2015 incident involving Zach and Courtney Smith during his press conference at Big Ten Media Day and said this:
“I can’t say it didn’t happen because I wasn’t there,” he replied. “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it. First I heard about that was last night. No, and I asked some people back at the office to call and say what happened and they came back and said they know nothing about it.”
With the Buckeyes just days away from opening their preseason camp, the university decided to open the investigation and to also put Meyer on leave to not let him be a distraction to the team as they prepare for the 2018 season.
Quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Ryan Day will be the interim head coach until the investigation is complete.
It could get worse for the Meyer family because Urban and his wife Shelley are both employed by the university and both could face violations of the Title IX policy on reporting allegations of domestic violence against other employees of the university.
While I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guility, Ohio State did the absolute right thing regarding this situation that seems to be getting bigger each day with more details coming out.
Cleveland.com reported on Wednesday that they have discovered nine reports of domestic issues between the Smiths from 2012 to 2018 by Powell, Ohio police. Smith was brought to Ohio State by Meyer when Meyer took the head coach position.
If Meyer knew what was going on and the investigation determines that he did know and protected and also enabled Smith, then his time at Ohio State has to come to an end.
You can not defend someone who A) assaults a woman and B) someone who knows someone assaulted a woman and did nothing about it.
Regardless of what Meyer has done for the football program and the university, if he knew about what Smith was doing and didn’t do anything about it, then that’s a huge asterisk to his legacy as well as the university.