Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer has been placed on administrative leave amid reports he knew of a 2015 domestic abuse incident involving a former Buckeyes staff member.
College football reporter Brett McMurphy published a piece on his Facebook account Wednesday about former OSU assistant coach Zach Smith and his then-wife, Courtney Smith. The report featured screenshots of text messages between Courtney Smith and several coach’s wives indicating Meyer’s knowledge of the situation.
Hours later, multiple outlets reported Ohio State plans to investigate the allegations while placing Meyer on leave. The university released a statement saying it was focused on supporting players and “getting to the truth as expeditiously as possible.”
“The university is conducting an investigation into these allegations,” a statement from Ohio State read. “During the inquiry, Urban Meyer will be placed on administrative leave. Ryan Day will serve as acting head football coach during the investigation.”
Meyer told reporters last week at the Big Ten Media Day event in Chicago that he was aware of a 2009 incident involving Zach Smith, but was told “that what was reported wasn’t what actually happened.” The Buckeyes coach also said he didn’t know about any similar incidents from 2015 prior to addressing the media.
“I got a text late last night that something happened in 2015, and there was nothing,” Meyers told reporters. “Once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that.”
Courtney Smith told sports network Stadium in a sit-down interview on Wednesday that she told other wives, including Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, about the alleged physical abuse in 2015.
″I told Shelley,” Courtney Smith told Stadium. “I sent her some pictures. I spoke to her on the phone ... Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban. I said, ‘That’s fine. You should tell Urban.’”
This article has been updated with a statement from Ohio State University.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.