Ohio State football: Urban Meyer releases new statement seeking to change narrative of his suspension

Aug 31, 2018

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer is still suspended. 

He is also still defending himself on Twitter. 

One day before the Buckeyes begin the season without him, Meyer posted a lengthy defense of himself on social media. 

Meyer received a six-week suspension August 22 at the conclusion of an investigation into how he handled allegations assistant coach Zach Smith abused his then-wife Courtney Smith. 

In his statement Friday, Meyer took issue with the way the way some of the conclusions of the report have been portrayed in subsequent media reports. 

>>RELATED: Ohio State releases more documents from Zach Smith/Urban Meyer investigation

“First, I was not suspended because I knew about or condoned Zach Smith’s alleged domestic abuse,” Meyer wrote before quoting lead investigator Mary Jo White. 

At a press conference announcing the results of the investigation and punishment, White said, "Coach Meyer impressed us with his sincere commitment to the respect for women core value that he espouses and tries to instill in his players. We believe (Ohio State director of athletics Gene) Smith shares that strong commitment.” 

The report also found Meyer had impressed upon Zach Smith the belief he would be fired if Meyer were made aware of evidence allegations the assistant abused his wife were true. 

(Zach Smith was investigated for domestic abuse in 2015, but charges were never filed. He was charged in relation to an incident in Florida in 2009, but those were eventually dropped. See below.) 

Meyer’s Friday Twitter statement also highlighted a quote from OSU president Dr. Michael Drake the night the report was released. 

“I want to state clearly that they believe Urban Meyer did not and does not condone domestic abuse,” Drake said before explaining the punishment was a result of Meyer’s failing to manage Zach Smith as an employee. 

Ohio State president Dr. Michael Drake announced punishments for football coach Urban Meyer and director of athletics Gene Smith on Wednesday night.

Also Friday morning the attorney for Courtney Smith released notes from an investigation by Powell, Ohio, police conducted in 2015 and a statement clarifying an error contained therein. 

“It is important to note that all but the last sentence of the Narrative is an accurate description of what Courtney Smith reported to the Powell Police Department,” wrote Julia Leveridge, the attorney for Courtney Smith. “The incident referred to in the last sentence of the Narrative occurred in Florida in 2009, while Urban Meyer and Zach Smith were coaching at the University of Florida. Attorney Hiram DeFries was sent to meet with Courtney Smith. They met at a Panera Bread restaurant in Gainesville, Florida, and not at Courtney’s home. DeFries attempted to convince Courtney to drop the battery charge against Zach Smith in Florida, because it would embarrass both the University of Florida and Coach Urban Meyer and negatively impact the career of her then husband, Zach Smith.” 

>>RELATED: OSU trustee reportedly quits over Meyer punishment

A report by the Columbus Dispatch, which received a copy of the narrative anonymously, briefly touched off another social media frenzy Wednesday night when it appeared OSU had tried to interfere with the 2015 investigation. 

That prompted Smith to clarify the details to ESPN and WatchStadium.com