The ex-wife of former Ohio State wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith says she told Urban Meyer's wife about being abused by her then husband.
In an interview with Stadium, Courtney Smith says she texted photos of the abuse to Shelley Meyer in 2015 and spoke to her on the phone. Courtney said she was legally separated from Zach at that point and hoped the behavior would stop.
"Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban," Courtney said. "I said 'that's fine.' You should tell Urban. We can't have somebody like this coaching young men."
"I believe that when someone is crying out for help, I believe the coach, along with the coach's wife...they have a duty to do something...to help," Courtney said. "Instead of worrying about winning games or who his mentor is and trying to protect that."
Courtney also said that Shelley never told her whether or not she informed Urban about the abuse claims. Shelley allegedly would "reach out" to Courtney and tell her she was "worried."
Zach was fired by Ohio State on July 23, just days after reports surfaced that an order of protection had been filed against him by his ex-wife. According to college football reporter Brett McMurphy, Urban knew about the domestic violence allegations against Zach in 2015. McMurphy's report contradicts what Urban told journalists at Big Ten media days last week.
"I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it," Meyer said on July 24.
In a longer interview that aired on WatchStadium.com Wednesday afternoon, Courtney said she thought Urban knew about the abuse.
"I do believe [Urban] knew, and instead he chose to enable the abuser and believe every story he was telling about me," Courtney said. "No one from the university came and asked my side of the story."
McMurphy reported that Smith has at least two domestic violence incidents. As a member of Meyer's staff at Florida in 2009, Smith was arrested for aggravated battery of his wife, who at the time was two months pregnant. Charges were not filed in that case.
At Big Ten media days, Meyer said that he had been informed of that incident at the time and passed it along to his superiors, noting to the assembled media that “what was reported wasn’t actually what happened” and that the Smiths were a “very young couple.”
Smith was again arrested in October 2015, this time for felonious assault and domestic violence against his ex-wife.
McMurphy reports that the police report related to that incident released to the media last week differed from the original in a key way: The box initially checked to indicate that Smith was arrested was no longer checked, almost three years later. Courtney was granted a restraining order against her husband on Nov. 10, 2015, and filed for divorce two days later.
Police reports obtained by cleveland.com show a history of domestic issues involving Courtney and/or Zach Smith from 2012-2017 in Ohio. In an Oct. 26, 2015, report from the Powell Police Department, Courtney Smith told authorities that she wanted to file a restraining order against Zach.
In 2017, Courtney Smith also reported neighbors seeing Zach looking through the windows of her house and car at 1:30 a.m. While no charges were filed, police issued a trespass warning to Zach.