Ohio State coach Urban Meyer issued a statement Friday regarding the recent domestic violence allegations concerning former assistant coach Zach Smith and whether or not he and the university properly handled the situation.
On Wednesday, the university put Meyer on paid administrative leave while it investigates whether knew about the domestic violence allegations against Smith. College football reporter Brett McMurphy reported earlier this week that Meyer knew about the allegations in 2015 despite the coach's statements to the contrary at Big Ten Media Days.
In the statement released Friday, Meyer said he has "always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels." He added that was the case when it came to Smith's alleged domestic violence incident in 2015.
Meyer also apologized for the comments he made at Big Ten Media Days regarding Smith, saying, "I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media."
Read Meyer's full statment below:
Dear Buckeye Nation:
My heart is heavy today as I witness the toll that events of the past week have taken on the Buckeye Family and the university community that I love so dearly.
When I stand before the 105 young men in our football program and talk about core values and doing the right thing and respecting women, it's not lip-service. I genuinely believe that we have an obligation to help develop the young men in our charge into positive change agents and that responsibility rests with me.
Over the past several days, I have been portrayed as being indifferent to domestic violence and as someone who did not take appropriate action, when warranted. While over three decades of coaching I have learned to ignore how others define me, I do feel it necessary to share the truth with the Buckeye family.
Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.
The power of what I say and how I say it, especially regarding sensitive domestic issues, has never been more evident than now. My words, whether in reply to a reporter's question or in addressing a personnel issue, must be clear, compassionate and most of all, completely accurate. Unfortunately, at Big Ten Media Days July 24th, I failed on many of these fronts. My intention was not to say anything inaccurate of misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.
I understand that there are more questions to be answered and I look forward to doing just that with the independent investigators retained by the University and I will cooperate fully with them. At the appropriate time, I will also address the questions and speculation in a public forum. But for now, out of respect for the ongoing inquiry, I will refrain at this time.
Please know that the truth is the ultimate power and I am confident that I took appropriate action. As I stated above, I deeply regret if I have failed in my words. As the son of an amazing woman and the husband of another, and as the father of two incredible young women, those who know me best know the admiration and respect I have for all women. Our core values are just that—values that do not ever waver.
I ask that you continue to support the incredible coaches and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to rejoining them soon.
On Thursday, Ohio State's board of trustees formed an independent working board to help the investigation.