Ohio State’s investigation of Urban Meyer: What we know now

As the second week of Ohio State’s investigation of Urban Meyer concludes, here is a recap of major events.

1. Ohio State fired assistant coach Zach Smith on July 23. 

Smith, who had been Ohio State’s receivers coach since 2012, was terminated the same day he received a notice of a domestic violence civil protection order being filed by his ex-wife, Courtney.

Also that day national college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported he had a police report showing Smith had been arrested for domestic violence and felonious assault against his then-wife in 2015. McMurphy later wrote that an updated report released by Powell, Ohio, police no longer showed Smith had been arrested that day.

Zach Smith also faces a trespassing charge stemming from a disagreement over how a child drop-off between the former couple was handled in May.

2. On July 24, Meyer explained what he knew about alleged domestic violence committed by Smith in 2009 and ’15. 

While the head coach said he and his wife, Shelley, offered counseling to the Smiths in 2009, Urban Meyer said a 2015 incident did not happen.

There is now some dispute about exactly what question Meyer was (or at least thought he was) answering at that time and whether or not his intention was to say no incident occurred at all or simply that Zach Smith was not arrested at that time.

That is a discussion being driven by additional information released in early August.

(See items 5 and 6 below.)

3. Meyer was placed on leave Wednesday (Aug. 1). 

The head coach’s version of the events came back into focus a week later when McMurphy reported he had evidence Meyer knew about the 2015 incident.

McMurphy’s source for that report was Courtney Smith, who shared with him pictures of injuries she said resulted from altercations with Zach. She also shared screen shots of text message conversations between herself and Shelley Meyer (Urban’s wife) in which Meyer expressed concern about her safety. Also shared was a conversation between Courtney Smith and an another staffer’s wife that seemed to indicate Urban Meyer had been made aware of troubles between the Smiths.


The same day, a video was released by sports video website Stadium in which Smith detailed her life with Zach as well as what she told Shelley Meyer three years ago. She said she believed Urban Meyer knew about the abuse, but she wasn’t certain.

Also that night, McMurphy told ESPN he did not have direct evidence Urban Meyer knew about the 2015 incident, seemingly contradicting his own original report.

4. Urban Meyer released a statement August 3. 

The coach acknowledged knowing Zach Smith was accused of domestic violence in 2015 but that he handled the information properly at the time.

>>FULL STORY: Meyer breaks silence

“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 issues to the proper channels,” Meyer wrote Friday. “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.”

He also apologized for mishandling the interviews a day after Zach Smith was fired.


5. Zach Smith spoke the same afternoon and evening. 

The fired assistant went public with his side of the story, first to a Columbus radio station and then in a sit-down interview with ESPN.

He denied ever beating his wife but said their relationship was “toxic” and admitted he was “not a good husband.”

He also described conversations he had with both Urban Meyer and Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith while he was being investigated for the 2015 incident, confirming both knew about the allegation at the time.


6. On August 5, Ohio State announced how long the investigation is expected to last. 

The school announced it intended to have finalized the investigation into what Meyer knew and how he handled that information within 14 days.

The investigation is being led by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White, and an “independent working group” is being chaired by former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson.

University President Dr. Michael V. Drake will consult with the board of trustees to render a decision based on the findings of the investigation.


7. Investigators spoke with Zach and Courtney Smith this week. 

Information regarding the investigation has been scarce, but we do know the group spoke with Courtney Smith on Monday and Zach Smith on Tuesday thanks to statements from their respective lawyers.


Courtney Smith's attorney also released a statement seeking to correct what she termed misinformation about her client while Zach Smith's attorney used his weekly radio show to criticize national media coverage of the story.


8. The investigation will conclude Sunday. 

The university announced late Friday the investigation will conclude Sunday night as planned.

Then a report will be filed by the investigative team for the independent working group.

After that, the Board of Trustees and OSU president Dr. Michael Drake will get their chance to consider the findings and render a decision on Meyer’s fate.

9. The team is preparing for the season with Ryan Day as interim head coach. 

The Buckeyes began practice August 3 without Meyer.

Reporters have been allowed in for portions of two practices, but otherwise all practices have been closed and there have been no interviews with players or coaches.

On Friday, Day released a lengthy rundown of what happened over the first two weeks.

Ranked No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, the Buckeyes will open the season at home Sept. 1 against Oregon State.

At this point, it is unclear if they will be coached by Urban Meyer or Day, but all indications are a final answer will have been attained by then.

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