On Monday afternoon, Brett McMurphy reported that then-Florida intern Zach Smith was arrested for felony aggravated battery on a pregnant victim in 2009. The charges were dropped, however, when Courtney Smith, his wife, declined to press charges.
Later in the day, details of another domestic abuse allegation surfaced against Smith in 2015, in which he was arrested for domestic violence and felonious assault, a case that remains open at this time, according to McMurphy.
Those stories followed Friday’s revelation that Courtney Smith has been issued a protective order against her ex-husband, mandating that he remain 500 feet away from her at all times, following a May arrest for criminal trespassing.
Smith worked under Urban Meyer’s employ for all three of the above incidents, which, naturally, led to the question of what Meyer knew and when he knew it.
Speaking at Big Ten media days on Tuesday, Meyer said he knew of all the incidents at the time, but believed they were not what was reported.
“In 2009, Zach was an intern,” Meyer said. “As I do, as I imagine most coaches or people in leadership positions, the first thing you do is you tell your boss. Let the experts do their jobs; I’m certainly not going to investigate it. It came back to me that what was reported wasn’t actually what happened. Shelley and I actually both got involved because of our relationship with that family and advised for counseling and wanted to help moving forward.”
“I got a text late last night that something happened in 2015. There was nothing. I don’t know who creates a story like that.
“And then this recent one, you press pause. It’s something our team lives by: E+R=O. You get an event, get your mind right and step up, press pause and gather information, get your mind right and step up and do the right thing. That’s the position that I hold and that’s how I did that.”
Urban Meyer’s comments about Zach Smith’s dismissal.
He said what was reported in 2009 about an alleged domestic violence incident “wasn’t actually what happened” and a 2015 alleged incident does not exist.
“I don’t know who creates a story like that." pic.twitter.com/22RcIPnhUB
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) July 24, 2018
Meyer later addressed why he fired Smith if nothing was it was reported. “It’s a personal matter,” he said. “It’s a decision that was made for the best interest of our team.”
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 24, 2018
Meyer said Ohio State will hire a replacement for Smith within the week. Former Ohio State wideout and current Buckeyes quality control coach Brian Hartline is largely considered the favorite to take over the position.