Urban Meyer suspended for first three games of season

Ross Houston
August 23, 2018

Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer was suspended for three games without pay in the wake of an investigation into exactly what he knew about spousal abuse allegations leveled against former assistant coach Zach Smith, the university announced Wednesday night.

The move followed a two-week investigation into how Meyer reacted to accusations that former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith.

After he was placed on leave, Meyer released a statement saying he has "always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures". As I do many times, most coaches and people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, first thing you do is tell your boss, let the experts do their jobs.

The announcement comes after the Ohio State Board of Trustees held a closed meeting on Wednesday at the Longaberger Alumni House on campus to discuss their findings from their investigation into Meyer's conduct.

The Ohio State University athletic director has arrived at the campus building where trustees are meeting to determine the fate of football coach Urban Meyer. At Big Ten Media Days, Meyer said he and his wife even counseled the couple in the aftermath of that incident.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also has been suspended without pay from August 31 until September 16.

Meyer will miss the Buckeyes' games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU before returning for Tulane.

The investigation also found that Meyer and Smith "failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts when they concluded that they needed to await a law enforcement determination to file charges before they reported the otherwise disputed claims of spousal abuse against Zach Smith, they did so based upon a good faith belief that they did not have sufficient information to trigger a reporting obligation or initiate a disciplinary action in the absence of law enforcement action". The case came to light back in late July when Smith was sacked from the university due to his arrest in the case.

The day after Smith's firing, Meyer told reporters that he knew about the 2009 allegation, but didn't know about the 2015 allegation.

Courtney Smith told sports network Stadium in a sit-down interview early this month that she spoke with Meyer's wife, Shelley, and sent photos as evidence of the 2015 incident.

Meyer said he was not aware of the text messages Courtney Smith sent to his wife. I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt. "We can't have somebody like this coaching young men'". The university also suspended Gene Smith for two weeks. "And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015".

However, school officials state neither Meyer nor Athletic Director Gene Smith covered up or condoned the alleged domestic abuse by Smith, but rather.

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