Ohio State placed head coach Urban Meyer on paid administrative leave as the school investigates how the coach handled the domestic violence allegations surrounding former assistant Zach Smith. College football insider Brett McMurphy reported he obtained text messages that show Meyer knew of the incidents in 2015, but did not take action against Smith. McMurphy also reported Meyer previously denied knowing of the incidents.
“I was never told about anything,” Meyer said per McMurphy. “Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it. I asked people back at the office to call and see what happened, and they came back and said they know nothing.”
Meyer is still part of the Ohio State staff, but will not be at team activities while he is on administrative leave. What would it take for Ohio State to fire Meyer after the investigation is concluded? Meyer’s contract does have language that requires him to report violations of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy. ESPN detailed the specifics of Meyer’s contract.
Meyer’s contract extension signed in April includes language requiring him to report any violations by staff members of Ohio State’s sexual misconduct policy to the university’s athletics Title IX coordinator. Also, as an Ohio State employee who supervises others, Meyer is required by the university’s sexual misconduct policy to report knowledge of domestic abuse by a university employee. According to the policy, “An individual need not be charged with or convicted of a criminal offense to be found responsible for domestic violence pursuant to this policy.”
Meyer’s original contract required him to promptly report any violations of university rules by assistant coaches to Gene Smith and the Office of Compliance Services. Failure to do so could result in termination with cause.
Meyer’s contract states that if Ohio State is considering terminating with cause, he has the right to “explain the circumstances with his point of view before termination, unless the circumstances are so heinous that, in Ohio State’s reasonable judgment, it would be impossible for [Meyer] to justify his actions.”
Courtney Smith Claims All the Ohio State Coaches’ Wives Knew of the Allegations
Reports from McMurphy as well as Stadium indicate Meyer knew of the alleged incidents. Smith told Stadium she believed Meyer knew of the incidents.
“I do believe he knew, and instead he chose to help the abuser and enable the abuser and believe whatever story Zach was telling everybody,” Smith told Stadium.
McMurphy reported the Buckeyes coaching staff knew about her ex-husband’s actions.
“All the (coaches) wives knew,” Smith told McMurphy. “They all did. Every single one.”
Smith was in communication with Meyer’s wife, Shelly Meyer, but did note she did not know if Shelley Meyer told her husband. Here is a sample of the text messages McMurphy reported were exchanged between Smith and Shelley Meyer.
Shelley: “I am with you! A lot of women stay hoping it will get better. I don’t blame you! But just want u to be safe. Do you have a restraining order? He scares me”
Courtney: “Restraining orders don’t do anything in Ohio-I tried to get protection order which is what started this whole investigation. And that should go through soon finally. It’s hard bc you have to prove immediate danger. Legal system is tough. Basically you have to prove he will kill u to get protective order”
Shelley: “Geesh! Even w the pics? Didn’t law enforcement come to your place ever??”
Urban Meyer Was Placed on Administrative Leave by Ohio State
Ohio State has not released a timeline as to when they expect the investigation to be resolved. Ohio State opens the season against Oregon State on September 1, and the university is likely to want a resolution to the case by the start of the season.
“[Athletic director] Gene [Smith] and I agree that being on leave during this inquiry will facilitate its completion,” Meyer told ESPN. “This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter.”
According to Eleven Warriors, Zach Smith showed a history of abuse prior to 2015. Back in 2009, Zach Smith was charged with felony assault. Eleven Warriors reported the 2009 police report noted Zach Smith “picked her [Courtney Smith] up by grabbing her T-shirt and threw her against the bedroom wall.”