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(8-23-18) Ohio State Head Football Coach Urban Meyer is suspended through September 2nd, and will miss the Buckeyes’ games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU. His suspension is without pay. Athletic Director Gene Smith has also been suspended from August 31st-September 16th without pay.
Although Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts when they concluded that they needed to await a law enforcement determination to file charges before they reported the otherwise disputed claims of spousal abuse against Zach Smith, they did so based upon a good faith belief that they did not have sufficient information to trigger a reporting obligation or initiate disciplinary action in the absence of law enforcement action. Other than their misunderstanding of the requirements triggering reporting obligations, neither Coach Meyer nor Athletic Director Smith violated any policy, rules, law or contractual obligation in connection with the alleged domestic abuse claims against Zach Smith.
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Urban Meyer assistant Zach Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney Smith, opens up about reported domestic violence and what she believes Meyer knew. pic.twitter.com/dNWA9x2F4y
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) August 1, 2018
Urban Meyer statement:
“I know that the impact that the events of the last three weeks have had on this institution, an institution that I love, and how challenging this has been for this community, our president — a man I have great respect for — and for that I am deeply sorry.
“I’m fully aware that I’m ultimately responsible for this situation that has harmed the university as a whole and the Department of Athletics and our football program.
“I want to apologize to Buckeye Nation. I followed my heart and not my head. I fell short in pursuing full information because at each juncture I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt.
“As I reflect, my loyalty to his grandfather, Earle Bruce, who was my mentor and like a father to me, likely impacted how I treated Zach over the years. I did not know everything about Zach Smith, what Zach Smith doing, and I’m pleased the report made this very clear. However, I should have demanded more from him and recognized red flags.
“I needed to show more care and concern for the entirety of the situation and the people involved. I should have been more demanding of him in the same way I am of my players, other staff members and myself. I should have done more, and I am sorry for that.
“I did a poor job at media day. It’s a big reason why we’re here today. I was not being as complete and accurate as I should have been at media day, and afterward. But there was no intent to mislead. My role is to set a good example, and in this instant, I did not live up to the university’s standards.
“The suspensions are tough, but I fully accept them. I wish I could go back and make different decisions, but I can’t. These difficult lessons are a constant reminder of the duties and obligations that I have as a member of this university, and this community.
“I take this responsibility very seriously, and I will do better. I’ve been a Buckeye my entire life, and for the past six years I’ve work diligently to build a program the great state of Ohio, and Ohio State, can be very proud of. And I appreciate the opportunity to learn from a mistake, and I will work as hard as I ever have to make our strong program even stronger.
“Thank you very much.”