Courtney Smith Says She Believes Urban Meyer Knew About Abuse In Interview

By Dan Hope on August 1, 2018 at 2:40 pm

In an interview with Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, Courtney Smith said she believes Urban Meyer knew about the abuse she reported against her ex-husband, former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith, in 2015.

"With Shelley Meyer being aware of everything that was going on and saying that she was going to have to tell Urban, do you think that he knows about all of this?" Stadium interviewer Kristen Balboni asked Courtney.

"I believe he did," Courtney responded.

Courtney did not directly answer, however, when asked whether she believed Meyer should lose his job at Ohio State. She also said that she believed Meyer's wife, Shelley, who she was in contact with after reporting that Zach had assaulted her in 2015, "did everything she could" to help her.

"That’s a tough question," Courtney said when asked whether she believed Meyer should remain Ohio State's coach. "When somebody is crying out for help, I believe the coach, along with the coach’s wife, have a duty. They have a duty to do something to help, instead of worrying about winning games, or instead of worrying about who his mentor is, or who his family is and trying to protect that. Somebody’s safety and the safety of their children and the environment they’re in needs to be more important. And I hope that in the future, he never, ever, ever turns his head away again.

"I know Shelley did everything she could. I know she did. I firmly believe that at least. I can say she was very supportive and she never made me feel uncomfortable, she never made me feel like I was a threat to her or them by telling her these things. Never.

"However, I do believe he knew, and instead he chose to help the abuser, enable the abuser, and believe every story Zach was telling everybody. Of course, he’s going to tell everybody I’m crazy and I’m making this up. That’s not the case. And nobody from the university came and asked me my side of the story. They knew there was an investigation going on and not once did anyone call me and ask me what happened. That’s a problem. It needs to change."

Courtney said that Urban Meyer never talked to her directly about the abuse she had reported against Zach, but she said he had been in touch with her on a couple of occasions to check in on her well-being.

"He never spoke to me about the physical abuse," Courtney said. "But he had made a couple comments to me and we had a couple of conversations – very brief. ‘How are you guys doing? Everything okay?’ Of course, we’re married and I’m trying to get through this, hope that he’s going to change. I’m not ready to leave yet, so of course during that time, after the national championship, when we won that game, we were in the airport, we had just landed back in Columbus, and he asked me how we were doing and I said ‘We’re alright.’ Because at the time, what was I going to say at time? I wasn’t ready to come forward with the abuse. I was scared."

Courtney's interview with Stadium was aired just hours after Brett McMurphy published a report in which Courtney shared with McMurphy that she had text message exchanges with Shelley as well as with Lindsey Voltolini, the wife of Ohio State director of football operations Brian Voltolini, in which Lindsey implied Meyer was aware of the allegations Courtney made against Zach in 2015, which Meyer denied at last week's Big Ten Media Days

Although Courtney reported to Powell Police on Oct. 26, 2015 "that a domestic incident happened last night at her home and that she has been a victim of sustained physical abuse by the suspect," charges were never filed against Zach. Courtney said she believed, though, that charges should have been filed against him.

"That 2015 incident was the last time he ever laid hands on me," Courtney said. "He came to my home, he wasn’t happy and we got into an argument. He decided he wanted to take my son (but) it wasn’t his parenting night. I obviously fought back, not physically but was like ‘No, you’re not going to take him. It is my night. There needs to be boundaries.’ When I stood up to him, he took me and shoved me up against the wall with his hands around my neck, something he did very often. My daughter was clinging to my leg and it obviously registered with him what he was doing, so he took my son and left. Then I called the police."


Balboni: "The incident in 2015 where you called the police, where you said he left with your son, why was he never charged?"

“I don’t know what happened," Courtney said. "I felt and I was told they had more than enough evidence to charge him with domestic violence. It's very frustrating and I felt very defeated, because after a year of waiting and interviews from the police, just one thing after another at that time, obviously he knew he was under investigation. So he wasn’t very happy and I had to go through a lot with him and nothing came out of it. It was one of the worst things I have ever had to deal with.”

Asked why she ultimately decided to file for divorce from Zach in 2015, Courtney said she did so for the safety of her children and herself.

"I had had enough," Courtney said. "It was out of control to the point where he picked me up by my neck and threw me down on the ground in our bathroom and screamed at me, ‘Look what you turned me into.’ When it gets to that point, you realize your life is at stake. I never imagined it would get to that point and it was time. It was time to go. It was time."

Zach's attorney, Brad Koffel, has described Courtney's allegations as "unfounded," and told ESPN's Dan Murphy on Wednesday that Zach would tell his side of the story in court.

"Zach Smith wants to be as transparent and honest as possible but it is not going to be done today through the media," Koffel told Murphy. "It will only be after he and his ex-wife are sworn in to testify. Once he gets his chance to tell his side of events, don’t be surprised when it is corroborated by every police who ever responded to Ms. Smith’s calls."

When asked about that claim in Wednesday's interview, however, Courtney said she thought it was "silly" to think that she was just trying to ruin Zach's career.

Balboni: "How would you respond to your ex-husband's attorney that you were just trying to ruin his career by doing this?"

“Well, I think that’s silly," Courtney responded. "If that’s what I was trying to do, I would have done that three years ago. When I filed for divorce, I would have done that. The whole investigation was going on at the time, I had absolutely no reason why I couldn’t have come forward with my story then. It would have ruined his career. I would have gotten absolutely nothing out of that. I didn’t want this to happen, but because he continued to not listen to the authorities, believe he’s above the law, and not follow orders were given to him by authors and within our shared parenting plan and divorce decree, he’s now suffering the consequences of those actions. He’s done this to himself. I am not ruining his career. He put himself in this situation. He could have changed, he knew what he was doing was wrong, and he didn’t change. He did this. I had nothing to do with this.”

Courtney's full interview can be seen in the video above.

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