Ohio State’s Meyer: I ‘failed’ in denying prior knowledge about fired assistant

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer on Friday issued his first extensive statement regarding the domestic violence allegations against former assistant Zach Smith, two days after the university placed Meyer on paid administrative leave.In the statement posted to his Twitter account, Meyer said that he “followed proper reporting protocols and procedures” at both Ohio State and Florida when learning of any incidents involving players, coaches or staff members. But Meyer also acknowledged he “failed” in addressing questions about an alleged 2015 incident involving Smith during Big Ten Media Days last week, and said “I apologize for the way I handled those questions.”When asked during his media session about his knowledge of any allegations against Smith in 2015, Meyer said, “I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it.”Meyer is on paid administrative leave while Ohio State investigates whether or not he did know of allegations of domestic violence against Smith back in 2015. Meyer fired Smith on July 23 after learning Smith had been charged with trespassing and was deemed by a judge to be a danger to his ex-wife.A report by college football reporter Brett McMurphy earlier Wednesday indicated that Courtney Smith, Zach Smith’s wife at the time, had informed Shelley Meyer, Urban Meyer’s wife, of the alleged abuse in October 2015. McMurphy reported originally that Urban Meyer did indeed know of the allegations back in 2015, though in an interview with Stadium released later Wednesday, Courtney Smith could only confirm she told Shelley Meyer.Zach Smith also was arrested for battery of Courtney Smith in 2009 when he was on Meyer’s staff at Florida, an incident Meyer said last week he reported to supervisors at the time. Zach Smith wasn’t charged in the case, as Courtney Smith declined to press charges. She said in an interview with Stadium on Wednesday night that she made that decision under pressure from Zach Smith’s family.Meyer is 73-8 in his six seasons with the Buckeyes, including winning the 2014 national championship.Smith is the grandson of former Ohio State coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Earle Bruce, who gave Meyer his first college coaching job as a graduate assistant in 1986.Offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who also coaches quarterbacks, will serve as acting head coach during the investigation.Here is the full text of Meyers’ statement Friday:”Family and the university community that I love so dearly.When I stand before the 105 young men in our football program and talk about core values and doing the right thing and respecting women, it is not lip-service. I genuinely believe that we have an obligation to help develop the young men in our charge into positive change agents and that responsibility rests with me.