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Urban Meyer defends himself in case involving assistant coach

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer autographs a

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer autographs a hat at the Big Ten media day in Chicago on July 24. Credit: AP / Annie Rice

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer insisted Friday he followed proper protocols in reporting domestic violence allegations against an assistant coach in 2015, passionately defending himself in his first extensive comments since he was put on paid leave amid a university investigation.

Meyer posted a statement addressed to Buckeyes fans on Twitter. “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.”

Shortly after Meyer’s statement posted, Zach Smith, the fired assistant coach accused of assaulting his wife, told Columbus radio station 105.7 that Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith spoke with him in 2015 about the allegations made by Courtney Smith that fall.

A police report was made about the incident, but no charges were filed. Zach Smith was fired last week by Meyer. Smith told ESPN in a separate interview he never assaulted his wife and any physical injuries she might have suffered were the result of him defending himself.

He said he spoke to Meyer in 2015 about the allegations. He said Meyer told him then he would fire Smith if the head coach found out Smith hit his wife.

“I don’t know what else Urban Meyer could have done,” Zach Smith told ESPN.

Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day is acting head coach. There is no timeline for the inquiry to conclude.

New York Sports