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Report: Ohio State’s Urban Meyer knew of domestic abuse by ex-coach


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By RJ Saunders

When asked at this year’s Big Ten Media Days, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said that he was unaware of a domestic violence incident that occurred in 2015 involving former Buckeyes wide receivers coach Zach Smith and his now ex-wife, Courtney.

However, in an exclusive interview Ms. Smith had done with Stadium, as well as several text messages that were obtained by college football reporter, Brett McMurphy, Smith says that Meyer was fully aware of the incident.

“All the [coaches’] wives knew,” She said. “They all did. Every single one.”

One of the wives that knew about the incident according to Courtney Smith, was Shelley Meyer, Urban’s wife.

Texts messages showed exchanges between the two and showed that Shelley was concerned for Courtney’s safety.

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??”

Smith told McMurphy that Shelley not only knew about the alleged incident, but states that they would often discuss the abuse that was done by Zach Smith. In addition, pictures were also exchanged between the two showing the abuse, which made Shelley want to take action.

“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” she said. “I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.’ I know Shelley did everything she could.”

There were also texts McMurphy received that were from 2015 between Courtney Smith and Lindsey Voltolini, wife of Ohio State football operations director Brian Voltolini.

Courtney: “(Zach’s) trying to make me look crazy bc that’s what Shelley is saying (he’s doing)”
Lindsey: “He (Urban) just said he (Zach) denied everything”
Courtney: “I hope urban is smarter than that”
Lindsey: “He (Urban) doesn’t know what to think”
Courtney: “I don’t really care. Ya know”
Lindsey: “Yeah, don’t worry about urb”

Voltolini told Courtney Smith that Zach Smith denied everything during a conversation with Meyer.

Urban Meyer told reporters on July 24 that he was aware of the 2009 incident that occurred while the two coaches were at the University of Florida.

Courtney was three months pregnant when that incident happened.

Smith would not be charged in that incident after Courtney was asked to drop those charges by Hiriam de Fries and Earle Bruce, who are two of Urban Meyer’s closest friends.

De Fries told Smith that Zach would never coach again if she didn’t drop the charges in 2009. Earle Bruce was Zach’s grandfather.
“He said ‘if you don’t drop the charges, Zach will never coach again,’ ” Courtney shared with McMurphy. “ ‘He’s never hit you before. He was drinking. He’ll probably never do it again. You should think about giving him a second chance.’ “
As reported by McMurphy, Courtney didn’t press charges at that time after conversing with De Fries.
Later down the road, Zach Smith was charged for Criminal Trespassing after dropping his kids off at Courtney’s house which led to the firing.
Meyer does say that he and Shelley “got involved” in the 2009 incident by talking to the Smiths after police finished their investigation.

But when it comes to the incidents that occurred in 2015, Meyer wants everyone to know that he had no knowledge of the situation.

“When I first heard that last night, I did some research and there was nothing,” Meyer said. “I don’t know. Someone texted me that last night. I said, ‘2015?’ That was only a couple years ago. I told people to go find out for me. I’m not sure where that comes up.”

Smith was fired ahead of the Big Ten Media Days and was replaced by interim coach and former Buckeyes wide receiver, Brian Hartline.

Meyer says that the decision was a “tough call” but states that it was, “the best decision for our team.” However, would not go into detail about whether the firing had anything to do with Smith’s past.

“I’m not going to get into that. A decision was made,” Meyer said. “The details I’m obligated to give, I gave. The decision was made, it’s time to move forward.”

Brad Koffel, the attorney for ex-Ohio State wide receiver coach Zach Smith, has issued a statement on his client’s behalf:

“Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible but it is not going to be done today through the media. It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify,” the statement reads. “Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls.”

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