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Ohio State released more than 2,000 pages of records including text messages and emails between Meyer, Smith and others.

By Jenna West
August 02, 2019

Ohio State released more than 2,000 pages of records from its internal investigation into former head coach Urban Meyer and former wide receivers coach Zach Smith on Friday.

The documents included text messages and emails between Meyer, Smith and others.

Zach Smith was fired on July 23, 2018, after reports surfaced that an order of protection had been filed against him by his ex-wife Courtney. Smith was investigated in 2015 for felonious assault and domestic violence against his ex-wife.

Meyer claimed on July 24, 2018, at Big Ten media days that he did not know about domestic violence allegations against Smith in 2015, saying, "There was nothing… I don’t know who creates a story like that."

The school placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1, 2018, and launched an investigation into his conduct. After being placed on leave, Meyer released a statement saying he has "always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures." The same day Meyer's statement was issued, Zach Smith appeared on ESPN and said athletic director Gene Smith knew about the 2015 domestic violence allegation at the time, pulling the assistant off of a recruiting trip once he heard.

Courtney Smith told Stadium that she said to Meyer's wife in 2015 that Zach Smith had assaulted her.

Ohio State suspended Meyer on Aug. 22, 2018, for the first three games of the season, and he retired from coaching at the end of the season.

A message sent to Meyer from his wife, Shelley, on July 23, 2018, the same day as Smith's firing, show her concerns over the assistant coach's handling of the news.

"I am worried about Zach's response. He drinks a lot and I am just not sure how stable he is. Afraid he will do something dangerous," she wrote. "It's obvious he has anger/rage issues already."

On Aug. 1, 2018, college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported on Facebook that Meyer knew about domestic violence allegations against Smith in 2015, contradicting what the coach told reporters previously at Big Ten media days.

Ohio State's records revealed Meyer received a message from someone, whose name is redacted, on the same day as McMurphy's report saying, "I know this is a tough day. I just wanted to tell that I care about you and believe in you."

Meyer replied: "Thx brother. Domestic issues r awful. Good thing I have been up front about everything [sic]."

Hours after making the statement at media day, Meyer changed his tune and explained that he'd learned about the 2015 accusation the day before and had his staff call the police department in Powell, Ohio. They'd turned up nothing, he said. ESPN later reported that the police department had indeed turned up two records of domestic complaints against Smith in 2015.

Messages exchanged between Meyer and a user labeled as "Tim/brenda Kight" on July 24, 2018, discussed the police report Meyer said he had his staff check on.

"I had stamp check with all police and there is nothing reported from 2015. I never heard of anything either. I understand that her lawyer is releasing stuff.

"Scary," Meyer wrote.

Tim Kight is founder and CEO of Focus 3, a company that helps "people, leaders, and organizations combine to produce results," its website says. The website also says Kight has worked with Meyer and as the football team's leadership coach.

Other messages shared between Meyer and Kight that day say Kight told the coach that Smith was charged with "criminal trespassing bc he violated a court order to stay proper distance from Courtney's apt [sic]."

Meyer replied: "Ok. A mess.

"I will not address the situation again. Win the moment. Focus on players/team."

Meyer said in a message sent in January 2018 that Alabama offered Smith a job to be a wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator and that Smith talked to Nick Saban about it. Meyer said, "I told him to stay and he turned it down."

In a different set of text messages from January 2018, Meyer says in messages sent to Smith, "After much thought, I want u [sic] to stay. I have personally invested far too much in u to get u in position to take the next step. U need to step away from other situation and let's go win it all ....again" and "We got u thru the s---, now go be a difference maker in the staff room."

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