Football

Urban Meyer Addresses Firing Of Zach Smith

Tuesday at Big Ten Media Days, Urban Meyer said that he knew about a 2009 incident involving Zach Smith, but found nothing to back up reports that a similar confrontation happened in 2015.

Ohio State fired Smith on Monday, following a series of allegations about domestic violence.

Meyer said the firing was done because of “the best interests of our team.”

Brett McMurphy reported on a 2009 incident when Smith was an intern for Meyer at Florida. In that case, police responded to a call at Smith’s home about a disturbance.

In that case, Smith’s then-wife said he “picked her up by grabbing her T-shirt and threw her against the bedroom wall located upstairs in their apartment.”

Smith’s wife Courtney declined to press charges, and the case was dropped.

Meyer said that he was aware of the incident at that time.

“In 2009 Zach was an intern, a very young couple. As I do many times, most coaches and people in leadership positions, you receive a phone call, first thing you do is tell your boss, let the experts do their jobs. We’re certainly not going to investigate (personally),” said Meyer.

“It came back to me that what was reported wasn’t actually what happened. And Shelley (Meyer) and I actually both got involved because of our relationship with that family and advised for counseling and wanted to help as we moved forward.”

Later on Monday, McMurphy reported on a 2015 incident in Delaware, Ohio, in which Zach Smith was arrested on felony counts of domestic violence and felonious assault.

According to McMurphy’s reporting, that case has never been resolved, and remains open.

Tuesday, Meyer said that he he looked into the reported 2015 case and did not find anything to corroborate it.

“I got a text late last night something happened in 2015. And there was nothing. Once again, there’s nothing — once again, I don’t know who creates a story like that,” Meyer said.

Meyer declined to say specifically whether the alleged actions, or the fact that they became public, were the motivation for firing Smith.

“It’s a very personal matter. The decision was made. I think the details that I’m obligated to give, I gave. You’re talking about people’s lives,” he said.

However, moments later, Meyer seemed to leave the door open to the fact that the allegations becoming public may have played a part in Smith’s dismissal.

“But to say that doesn’t have something to do with it, it does a little bit. I’m one of those ones I really don’t care about that. I try to stay focused on what’s the most important thing. That’s our players and our team,” said Meyer.

“The Ohio State University is bigger than all of us. So you have to do what’s right by them. And the timing. It wasn’t just my decision. It was a group effort on several people that I rely on.”

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