Ohio State’s two-week investigation into head football coach Urban Meyer found he mishandled domestic abuse allegations made by Courtney Smith against her ex-husband, former Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and misrepresented what he knew about Smith’s alleged abuse.
Ohio State announced Meyer’s punishment Wednesday night: a three-game suspension without pay and a ban from interacting with his team until Sept. 2. Meyer will miss games against Oregon State, Rutgers and No. 16 TCU but will be allowed to return for the Buckeyes’ Sept. 22 game versus Tulane. He’ll miss just one Big Ten game and be back for a Sept. 29 showdown with Penn State.
Meyer apologized to “Buckeye Nation” in a press conference but made no mention of Courtney Smith’s name.
“I appreciate the opportunity to learn from a mistake,” Meyer said, via USA TODAY. “There were red flags (with Zach Smith). I wish I did a better job knowing things and finding out things. I wish people told me more things. … I wish I had known more.
“I want to apologize to the Buckeye Nation. I followed my heart and not my head. … At each juncture I gave Zach the benefit of the doubt.”
Many felt Meyer should have lost his job, but Ohio State’s report found Meyer and OSU athletic director Gene Smith didn’t “condone or cover up” Zach Smith’s abuse. Instead, they “failed to take sufficient management action” regarding the assistant coach’s transgressions and had a “blind spot” for his past.
Courtney Smith claims she sent photographic evidence of her abuse to Meyer’s wife, Shelley, but Meyer retained Zach Smith on his staff until this year.
Zach Smith’s lawyer issued a statement late Wednesday night appearing to criticize Courtney Smith as well as the media.
Thumbnail photo via Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports Images