Urban Meyer Says He Reported 2015 Zach Smith Incident And Apologizes For Answers At Big Ten Media Days

By Dan Hope on August 3, 2018 at 4:34 pm
Urban Meyer

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer released a statement on Twitter on Friday afternoon, in which he said he was aware of allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015 and reported those allegations through the proper channels.

"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," Meyer said in his statement. "While over three decades of coaching I have learned to ignore how others defined 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."

Meyer also apologized for providing inaccurate answers to questions about whether he was aware of those allegations during last week's Big Ten Media Days.

"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," Meyer said. "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."

While Meyer said he recognizes that there still questions he must answer and said he will comply fully with Ohio State's investigation, he said he will not answer questions in a public forum until that investigation has concluded.

"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."

That said, Meyer said he believes he took the appropriate action and expects to return to the team in the near future.

"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 to 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 continues to support the incredible coaches and student athletes in our program and look forward to rejoining them soon."

Ohio State placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on Wednesday, hours after a report by Brett McMurphy that suggested Meyer knew about the allegations made against Smith in 2015, which he previous denied knowledge of at last week's Big Ten Media Days.

Ohio State announced Thursday that its Board of Trustees had formed an independent working group to lead its investigation into Meyer, what he knew and whether he reported what he knew through the proper channels.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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