OSU's Urban Meyer on administrative leave after assistant's abuse allegations

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

UBDATE: Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer put on paid leave amid investigation of abuse claims against fired assistant.

Ohio State University coach Urban Meyer was aware of domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith back in 2015, according to a report from college football writer Brett McMurphy.

On his own Facebook post, the former ESPN writer shared texted messages and an interview with Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of Zach Smith, that show both Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley knew about the situation.

Zach Smith was fired on July 23 after he was charged with criminal trespassing for bringing his children to his ex-wife's home against her wishes.

Last week during Big Ten Media Days, McMurphy reports that Urban Meyer said that he did not know about two domestic violence incidents in 2015 that allegedly involved Zach Smith. Meyer said had he known about the allegations, he would've fired Zach Smith back then. 

Meyer had admitted that he knew about the 2009 domestic violence arrest, saying he and his wife Shelley “advised for counseling and wanted to help” the couple.

Courtney Smith says all the coaches wives knew about the 2015 incident, especially that Urban's wife Shelley knew about the abuse that began in 2009. But McMurphy reports when asked about the allegations, Urban said he wasn't told about them.

"I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it. I asked people back at the office to call and see what happened, and they came back and said they know nothing," Meyer said.

Courtney Smith told McMurphy that she and Shelley, a registered nurse and instructor of Clinical Practice at the Ohio State University College of Nursing who is also bounded by Title IX standards, often discussed the alleged abuse. She says Shelley told her she'd have to tell Urban.

McMurphy reports that the 2015 incident happened on Oct. 25 while Zach and Courtney were separated. Zach allegedly came to her house and an argument resulted in violence. 

“He took me and shoved me up against the wall, with his hands around my neck,” Courtney said. “Something he did very often. My (then 3-year old) daughter was clinging to my leg. It obviously registered with him what he was doing, so he took my (then 5-year old) son and left. So I called the police.”

A report on the incident was filed on Oct. 26, 2015.

According to McMurphy, Courtney and Shelley shared the following exchange:

Shelley: “I am with you! A lot of women stay hoping it will get better. I don’t blame you! But just want u to be safe. Do you have a restraining order? He scares me”
Courtney: “Restraining orders don’t do anything in Ohio-I tried to get protection order which is what started this whole investigation. And that should go through soon finally. It’s hard bc you have to prove immediate danger. Legal system is tough. Basically you have to prove he will kill u to get protective order”
Shelley: “Geesh! Even w the pics? Didn’t law enforcement come to your place ever??”

Just weeks after the incident, McMurphy reports texts between Courtney and Lindsey Voltolini, wife of Brian Voltolini, who is one of Meyer's closest staff members, show Meyer talked to Zach Smith about what had happened.

Courtney: “(Zach’s) trying to make me look crazy bc that’s what Shelley is saying (he’s doing)”
Lindsey: “He (Urban) just said he (Zach) denied everything” 
Courtney: “I hope urban is smarter than that”
Lindsey: “He (Urban) doesn’t know what to think”
Courtney: “I don’t really care. Ya know”
Lindsey: “Yeah, don’t worry about urb”

McMurphy's report goes on to detail the alleged 2009 domestic abuse incident while Courtney was pregnant, as well as many other details on the story. Read the full report here: