A disturbing situation that Urban Meyer and the Ohio State football program had hoped had passed with a dismissal has instead resurfaced with a vengeance.
On the same day that two new reports of alleged domestic abuse, one from 2009 and another from 2015, surfaced, Zach Smith was dismissed as the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach on July 23. At the Big Ten Media Days the next day, Meyer acknowledged that he was aware of the 2009 incident but vehemently denied any knowledge of one in 2015. In fact, Meyer intimated that those allegations were fabricated as he described the decision to dismiss Smith, who was cited in May for criminal trespassing following an incident with his ex-wife, as a “very tough call.”
Wednesday, college football insider Brett McMurphy dropped a damning bomb on Facebook, writing that “[t]ext messages I have obtained, an exclusive interview with the victim and other information I have learned shows Ohio State coach Urban Meyer knew in 2015 of domestic abuse allegations against a member of his coaching staff.” The fired assistant’s ex-wife and the alleged victim in at least four domestic abuse situations, Courtney Smith, “provided text messages between her and the wives of Ohio State coaches – including Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley – showing Meyer’s knowledge of the situation,” McMurphy added.
“Shelly said she was going to have to tell Urban,” Courtney claimed according to McMurphy. “I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.’ I know Shelley did everything she could.”
Nowhere in the lengthy posting — I urge you to read it in full HERE — does it show that Shelley Meyer actually followed through and told her husband about the domestic abuse, it should be noted. That said, a text message exchange between Courtney Smith and the wife of one of Meyer’s long-time football staffers showed that the head coach had indeed talked to Zach Smith about the allegations of domestic abuse in October of 2015.
Lindsey [Voltolini] is the wife of Brian Voltolini, considered one of Meyer’s most loyal staff members. Brian is Ohio State’s football operations director and has been part of Meyer’s staffs for 15 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State.
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”
At the very least, that text exchange, if accurately portrayed and relayed to McMurphy, showed Meyer was indeed aware of the 2015 incident and essentially lied when he told the media last month that he “was never told anything about [the 2015 incident], nothing ever came to light, never had a conversation about it, so I know nothing about it.”
McMurphy’s report also claims that Shelley Meyer, who the head coach said last month has “always weighed in as my best friend and soul mate. … She’s been right there with everything,” had deep and extensive knowledge of the abuse Courtney Smith had endured at the hands of one of her husband’s assistant coaches.
One 2015 text exchange between Courtney and Shelley Meyer shows the extent of Shelley’s knowledge of the alleged domestic abuse and that she was concerned for Courtney’s safety.
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??
Zach Smith is the grandson of the late Earle Bruce, a close friend of Meyer’s. “He is the strongest relationship I’ve ever had other than my father,” Meyer has stated of the former OSU head coach. This latest report claims that Bruce and another close friend of Meyer’s, Hiram de Fries, had at various points urged/pressured Courtney Smith to not pursue charges against the now-34-year-old assistant coach.
“I know why nothing was done. Everyone was out to protect themselves,” McMurphy quoted Courtney Smith as saying. “Zach had people that were far more powerful than I would ever be that were protecting him and for the wrong reasons. I think people that knew (about the abuse) should have helped me. Instead, they chose to enable an abuser.
As of this posting, OSU officials have declined to address the explosive claims made in McMurphy’s posting.
Again, you can read McMurphy’s full report HERE — and I strongly urge you to do just that.
UPDATED 12:37 p.m. ET: In a portion of a video interview with Courtney Smith just released, Zach Smith’s ex-wife is asked if Shelley Meyer ever came back to her and told her that she had informed Urban Meyer of the abuse.
“She did not.”