COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer has spoken
Two days after being placed on administrative leave, the Ohio State head coach has released a statement admitting he was aware of an accusation of domestic violence against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015. At Big Ten media days last week, Meyer had denied any knowledge of the incident.
"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," Meyer wrote. "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 and serious domestic issues, has never been more evident than now. My words, whether in a 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 on July 24th, I failed on many of these fronts. My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or 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."
Meyer's statement marks his first comments since being placed on administrative leave as Ohio State opens an independent investigation into his handling accusations of domestic violence made by Smith's ex-wife, Courtney. Although the Buckeyes head coach initially denied knowledge of the incident, for which Smith was investigated and not charged, a new report from college football reporter Brett McMurphy indicated that both Meyer's wife Shelley and the wife of another team staffer had communicated to Courtney that Meyer had been made aware of the incident.
Had Meyer known about the accusations and not reported them through the proper channels, it would have likely violated the terms of the contract extension he signed with the school earlier this year.
In Meyer's place, the Buckeyes -- who kicked off fall camp on Friday -- named quarterbacks coach Ryan Day as acting head coach. In light of his statement, it remains unclear if Meyer will be reinstated, although he closed his statement by saying: "I ask that you continue to support the incredible coaches and student-athletes in our program, and I look forward to rejoining them soon."