Damning report claims Urban Meyer knew of 2015 domestic abuse allegations involving assistant

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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.”

Running back Deshawn McClease is latest player to leave Hokies

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It has been quite a busy couple of days for Virginia Tech transfer news. Within hours of Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente releasing a statement about the program’s dedication to strengthening the culture of the Virginia Tech football program after a handful of players had decided to leave the program, running back Deshawn McClease added his name to the list of transferring Hokies.

“After discussing with my family, we believe that it is best for me to transfer to another university following graduation this spring,” McClease said in a statement shared on his Twitter account Wednesday evening. “I am very eager to continue my football journey and further my education.”

McClease did not say where he is heading next. His departure is another blow to Virginia Tech’s offensive outlook for the 2019 season on a day that also saw starting quarterback Josh Jackson decide to transfer out of Virginia Tech a day after a couple of other transfer headlines surfaced around the program. As McClease mentioned in his statement, he is scheduled to graduate from Virginia Tech this spring. That will mean he will be eligible to play right away next fall for whatever team he ends up joining. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

McClease was Virginia Tech’s second-leading rusher in 2018 and likely would have been the starting running back in Blacksburg for the 2019 season had he decided to stick around. McClease rushed for 433 yards and two touchdowns last fall behind senior starter Steven Peoples.

Oklahoma State QB Keondre Wudtee leaving Stillwater via transfer

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The quarterback competition at Oklahoma State this spring has been reduced by one. Keondre Wudtee is one his way out of Stillwater after entering his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal, it was reported on Wednesday.

As noted by Pistols Firing, redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders appears to be the most likely candidate to land the starting job at quarterback for the Cowboys in 2019 following the graduation of Taylor Cornelius. Wudtee was the only other quarterback to record any passing stats for Oklahoma State in 2018 in his backup role, completing two of five attempts for 26 yards and a touchdown. A pair of wide receivers, Tylan Wallace and Dillon Stoner, were the only other players to attempt a pass for Oklahoma State in 2018.

Oklahoma State’s quarterback depth chart will still be padded even with the departure of Wudtee. Dru Brown, who transferred to Oklahoma State from Hawaii, is still around and the Cowboys added an early enrollee in three-star Class of 2019 quarterback Brendan Costello. Being enrolled early will allow Costello to get started with spring practices this semester in Stillwater and could potentially have him prepared to step in if needed in the fall.

As for Wudtee, we’ll see where he heads next. He will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules, of course.

After dustup with Uga, Texas president says Bevo is not leaving the sidelines

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Finally, a story NOT about the transfer portal.

Prior to the Sugar Bowl between Texas and Georgia, somebody decided it would be fun to do a photo with the live animal mascots of the Longhorns and Bulldogs. As Uga made his way over to see Texas mascot Bevo, the longhorn burst out of his caged area and made it known he was not about being a part of a fun photo opp. Fortunately, there were no injuries to report for any people or animals in the incident, but concerns about the handling of Bevo were certainly raised.

And despite pressure from PETA to stop including live animal mascots as part of the gameday experience and any others who may have voiced concerns about the worst-case scenarios involving a live steer, Texas president Gregory Fenves says Bevo will not be retired and forced to watch Longhorns football games from the ranch.

“We take the safety very seriously, but we’re going to continue to have Bevo as our mascot,” Fenves said in a recent interview with the American-Statesman. “He’s an incredible animal and a great symbol for the university. Seriously, we’re always looking at the protocols for Bevo at public events. I don’t think they need to be revised.”

So there you have it. Bevo stays. Sorry, not sorry, PETA. Unless Bevo does decide to enter the transfer portal…

Wisconsin TE Kyle Penniston enters transfer portal

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I have never seen it myself, but the transfer portal must be the place to be. Wisconsin tight end Kyle Penniston is just one of the many players putting his name in the transfer portal, as reported Wednesday, as he begins to look for a new place to finish up his college football career.

First reported by 247 Sports, Penniston will have one year of eligibility left to use for the 2019 season. He will be eligible to play right away this fall as a graduate transfer. Penniston enrolled at Wisconsin in 2015 after accepting an offer from Wisconsin over offers from Oklahoma and a handful of other top programs in the Class of 2015.

Penniston appeared in 13 games for the Badgers in 2018 with three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. The instant rise of Jake Ferguson at the tight end position on his way to becoming the second-leading receiver for Wisconsin meant Penniston likely wasn’t going to play a pivotal role in the offensive gameplan in 2019. Wisconsin should still be in decent shape at the tight end position this fall, not that losing an upper classmen at the position is ever a good situation for a program. It’s worth noting Penniston was recruited under former head coach Gary Andersen, who adopted a different type of offensive scheme that would have potentially been a better fit for Penniston.

Where Penniston goes next remains to be seen.