Ohio State coach Urban Meyer knew about the domestic violence allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015, according to college football reporter Brett McMurphy, contradicting what he told reporters 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.
Smith, who was also Ohio State’s recruiting coordinator, was fired on July 23, just days after reports surfaced that an order of protection had been filed against him by his ex-wife Courtney Smith.
“The court finds that (Courtney Smith) is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence and for good cause the following temporary orders are necessary to protect the persons named (Courtney Smith and her children Cameron, 8, and Quinn, 6) in this order from domestic violence,” a protection order obtained by McMurphy reads.
Courtney told McMurphy that not only did Meyer know about Zach's 2015 domestic violence incident, but his wife and members of the coaching staff were also aware.
"All the (coaches) wives knew,” Courtney told McMurphy. “They all did. Every single one."
Courtney shared in a video interview with Stadium that she texted photos and details of the abuse to Shelley Meyer.
“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban,” she told Stadium. "I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban. We can't have someone 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. Instead of worrying about winning games or who his mentor is and trying to protect that," she added.
McMurphy reported that Zach has at least two domestic violence incidents. As a member of Meyer's staff at Florida in 2009, Zach 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.”
Zach 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 Zach 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 told authorities that she wanted to file a restraining order against Zach.
In 2017, Courtney 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.