Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Urban Meyer releases statement ahead of return to OSU

Urban Meyer releases statement ahead of return to OSU

Urban Meyer is back.

In what normally would have been a press conference about the week's football game, the Ohio State coach met for almost an hour with reporters who questioned him about his mismanagement of fired assistant Zach Smith and his resulting suspension after a university investigation. As Ohio State passed its final on-field test without him, a 40-28 win over TCU on Saturday in Arlington, Texas, his three-game suspension expired.

Ohio State has gone 3-0 in Meyer's absence.

On Sunday, Meyer appeared on ESPN and apologized to Courtney Smith in the first segment of a two-part interview with Tom Rinaldi. He acknowledged that he would have fired Smith long ago had he seen the myriad "red flags" he missed.

"That's a tough question", Meyer finally said after a long pause.

Asked why he hired Zach Smith at Ohio State after previously knowing about incidents between him and Courtney Smith at Florida in 2009, Meyer admitted he made an error in judgement. He said the letters and talks with families of players were to assuage concerns that he turned his back on domestic violence allegations.

When asked if he believes Courtney Smith is a victim of domestic violence, Meyer continuously said he could only rely on the information he received from the "experts" and what he was told by the police when he was first made privy to the situation.

Per Rinaldi, Courtney Smith said that Meyer chose to help the abuser and to enable the abuser.

In the statement, Meyer recognized Day's leadership, his shortcomings when it came to handling Smith, his stance on domestic violence, his sympathy for Smith's wife, Courtney, and their children, and his promise to excellence from here on out.

When pressed about that, Urban Meyer had no answer.

Meyer was asked about memory issues cited by the report as a reason why he might not have remembered specific conversations. Today, his middle daughter, Gigi Meyer, took to Twitter to post a heartfelt message.

In August, Zach Smith said he only learned of the domestic violence allegation related to the 2015 incident because Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith notified him. They "specifically discussed how to adjust the settings on Meyer's phone so that text messages older than one year would be deleted", according to the report.

"I want to be clear that there was zero intent to mislead", he said Monday.

Tuesday afternoon, the weekly Big Ten coaches' teleconference was about football, and that's likely how things are going to go as Ohio State continues its quest for a national title, starting this Saturday when the Buckeyes play host to Tulane. He's 73-8 at Ohio State since 2012, and the Buckeyes are now a flawless 3-0 with expectations to make a College Football Playoff run. If the Buckeyes keep winning, focus on these important issues could unfortunately fade from the spotlight.

Like this: